Ahead of its Sunday matchup against Monmouth, Boston College field hockey head coach Kelly Doton had one goal on her mind: a strong defense
“It was the only focus,” Doton said. “We were allowing way too many goals. There’s no way you are going to succeed at the ACC level if you’re giving up 3–4 goals a game, so I’m proud of the effort we put in all week.”
BC’s defense stepped up to the challenge on Sunday, and in just the second all-time meeting between the two teams, the Eagles (4–4, 1–0 Atlantic Coast) secured a 3–2 victory over Monmouth (2–4,1–0 Metro Atlantic).
Despite missing scoring opportunities on four early corners, BC moved the ball with precision in the game’s opening period, creating multiple offensive chances and keeping the ball in Monmouth’s half.
The Eagles initially struggled to put shots past Monmouth keeper Phileine Hazen, but with just over three minutes remaining in the opening period, Victoria Arra gave the Eagles a 1–0 advantage on a tap-in finish.
The second quarter resulted in a back-and-forth stalemate. Toward the end of the first half, Monmouth earned its first corner of the game, which proved to be its best scoring chance of the half. But BC captain Sarah Johnson made a clutch defensive play to stop the Hawks from scoring.
“I always tell the players: If we don’t have the ball, it’s all out effort,” Doton said. “We’re sprinting. We’re trying to win the ball back. Defense is where we spend all of our energy.”
Coming out of halftime, Johnson got the ball rolling on offense and scored a quick goal from outside the crease to put BC up 2–0. The Eagles’ defense finally cracked just 20 seconds later, though, as Monmouth drove downfield, answering on a shot that trickled by BC goaltender Emily Gillespie to put the Hawks within one.
After some early offensive fireworks, the third and fourth quarters proved to be much less of a spectacle. Peyton Hale scored for BC to end the third, and Monmouth scored a late goal in the fourth, but it wasn’t enough to overcome BC’s defense.
“We need to keep getting better—fixing the mistakes we continuously keep making,” Doton said. “We’re going to keep moving forward.”