Between Michigan-Michigan State, Alabama-Auburn, and Duke-North Carolina, same-state matchups often create intense rivalries. Boston College women’s soccer took on two of its Massachusetts foes this week, tying UMass Amherst 2–2 and beating Boston University 3–1.
The Eagles (4–1–1) defeated their crosstown rival BU (2–4) in the Battle of Commonwealth Ave. Sunday.
Both teams played a physical game from the start, and the referees let them play even when things got chippy. BU struck first with a goal in the 12th minute after BC’s Ragna Magnúsdóttir delivered a bad pass to goalkeeper Wiebke Willebrandt. BU’s Abigail McNulty intercepted the pass and delivered a ball to Amy Thompson, who put the Terriers up 1–0.
BU continued to put pressure on the Eagles in the first half, keeping them scoreless through the first 45 minutes. A rejuvenated BC team came out in the second half and took over the game.
Emily Sapienza scored off a penalty kick to the bottom left corner of the net as BU’s goalkeeper Gretchen Bennett dove to the wrong side.
The game remained tied until BC forward Ella Richards took over. Aggressive all game long with her shots and decision making, Richards found a perfectly positioned Sam Smith on a beautiful pass to give the Eagles a 2–1 lead in the 72nd minute.
Just two minutes later, BC found the net again. This time it was Sapienza and Richards working together, with Sapienza crossing the ball to Richards, who, on the fly, blasted the ball past Bennett to make it 3–1 BC.
Three nights earlier, with under a minute left in BC’s matchup against UMass Amherst (1–2–3), it looked as though the Eagles were set to change a long lasting trend: BC had never defeated UMass on the road. But due to a goal from Minutewoman Julianna Ryan in the 90th minute, history repeated itself yet again.
The Eagles were clinging to a 2–1 lead before the referees awarded the Minutewomen a corner kick as the clock ticked down. The loose ball made its way through traffic in the box and found the foot of Ryan, who poked it past Willebrandt to tie the game at 2–2 with 56 seconds remaining.
BC opened the match with a peculiar play. The Eagles purposely played a long ball to Megan Olszewski, the UMass keeper, handing possession to the opposition on the game’s opening kickoff rather than starting an attack of their own. Following the unusual start, the Eagles were sloppy in their own half in the opening minutes, as they struggled to retain possession.
Still, the Eagles struck first. An over-the-top long ball found senior forward Smith one-on-one with the keeper. She maneuvered around Olszewski and shot the ball off the far post and into the empty goal. Smith’s 20th career goal gave the Eagles a 1–0 lead in the 16th minute of the match.
But the Eagles’ lead didn’t even last for two minutes. The Minutewomen capitalized on the Eagles’ sloppy defensive play when Lauren Bonavita powered past BC’s back line and beat Willebrandt to level the score at 1–1.
Despite the goal, Willebrandt had a remarkable first half, making three saves to keep the Eagles tied at the break.
The Eagles had a much better start to the second half, making crisp defensive stops, limiting turnovers, and winning 50-50 balls to shut down the UMass attack.
There were fewer scoring chances in the second half, but BC broke through in the 77th minute. Andi Barth received a pass with space in front of her on the right wing. She cut inside and fired a shot on goal. Olszewski denied her initial shot, but she buried the rebound to put the Eagles back in front.
Following the goal, UMass was on an all-out attack, generating chance after chance. In the 85th minute, a UMass shot rang off the right goal post, keeping the Eagles’ hopes of winning alive amid a flurry of UMass chances.
But the Eagles didn’t have the same luck in the final minute as the ball hit the post yet again, but this time, it fell to Ryan, who knocked it into the net to level the score.