Entering its game on Friday, Boston College field hockey was yet to defeat a ranked opponent this season. The Eagles geared up to enter their first ACC matchup and break this streak, proving that they can hold their own in the conference.
After a hard fought game, No. 21 BC (3–4, 1–0 Atlantic Coast) did just that, taking down No. 9 Virginia (3–3, 0–1) in a 2–1 victory.
BC head coach Kelly Doton said that ahead of Friday’s game, the Eagles reflected on how they started their season and discussed what improvements needed to be made ahead of Friday’s game.
“We kind of took a long hard look in the mirror after the start [of the season],” Doton said. “We just pretty much had to go back to the basics. And that’s what we did all week.”
BC started the game at a sluggish pace, struggling to keep up with the Cavaliers’ pressure and allowing two corners and two shots on net within the game’s first two minutes.
As the game progressed, though, the Eagles adapted to Virginia’s style of play and earned control of the ball, retaliating with two consecutive corner opportunities in the eighth minute. The Eagles made their second corner count, as Peyton Hale scored off the corner, logging her third goal of the season and putting the Eagles up 1–0.
Doton’s emphasis on the basics was seen on the field all game, as the Eagles played as a cohesive unit that moved the ball effectively and with purpose.
“[We] moved the ball better than we have all year,” Doton said, when asked what differentiated this game from BC’s four prior losses against top-20 teams.
BC’s first goal both rattled Virginia and jump started the Eagles, giving them confidence to respond to Virginia’s aggression. As the second quarter progressed, there was an almost tangible tension coming off the field with both teams rushing to score before the other one could. Ultimately neither team succeeded, and the half ended with the Eagles still leading 1–0.
As the second half commenced, the Eagles’ offense remained focused, scoring its second goal less than a minute into play. Sophomore Victoria Arra led BC’s offensive charge, driving toward the net and scoring an unassisted goal, increasing the Eagles’ lead to two.
This goal further amplified the Cavaliers’ anxiety and Virginia began frantically rushing the ball toward the net, looking to secure a corner or breakaway. BC, on the other hand, slowed the ball down and played with control, holding off Virginia’s attempts.
That is until the final seconds of the third quarter, when Virginia drew a corner and scored its first goal of the game, bringing the score to 2–1.
But in the final quarter, BC’s defense shined, stopping two corners, three shots, and numerous other drives from Virginia. BC’s offense failed to pressure Virginia’s defense enough to score a third goal, but its defense secured the 2–1 victory.
“The word that I keep using is discipline with them,” Doton said. “This was a very good team, I think defensively we got a little bit better and it was a good win.”