Four of the last 10 times Boston College field hockey has faced Boston University, the game has gone to overtime.
For 41 minutes, it looked like Sunday’s game would make that statistic five out of the last 11.
But a Kara Heck goal broke the 1–1 tie in the 41st minute and catapulted the Eagles (7–9, 2–3 Atlantic Coast) to a 3–1 victory over BU (8–8, 4–1 Patriot League) in the 44th Battle of Comm. Ave. Sunday afternoon.
“We had to have that win,” BC head coach Kelly Doton said. “Just getting some momentum back and some confidence—it’s amazing what winning can do.”
It was a defense-heavy game on both sides. The Eagles’ offense, however, displayed far more firepower than BU’s, outshooting the Terriers 31–5.
BC struck first with a Lois Lekawael goal off a penalty corner for her first goal of the season. But 38 minutes passed until the Eagles’ next goal, forcing BC to rely on goaltender Emily Gillespie and a high-octane defense to keep the Eagles in the game.
Missed opportunities on offense hurt the Eagles, who were creating chances but couldn’t find the net. On a breakaway play, Mia Garber swerved around BU goalkeeper Caroline Kelly, sending her to the ground, but she missed a wide-open net mere inches to the right of the goalpost.
“I think we had all the opportunities,” Doton said. “I think the scoreboard says 16 shots [on goal] so we definitely had the opportunities. They just weren’t falling, but they persisted with it and kept going.”
Milagros Arteta and Sarah Johnson also had chances late in the second quarter, both firing darts toward the goal, but Kelly got in front of both—a common theme for the Eagles, who tallied 11 shots but only one goal in the first half.
BC’s nine total penalty corners surpassed its season average of just under six per game, but the Eagles only converted on one of them Sunday. BU, meanwhile, recorded three penalty corners and scored its only goal off its first one, which came with less than two minutes in the second quarter. Payton Anderson’s shot that went right under Gillespie’s kick-block attempt, tying the game.
“I just think our energy is down a little bit,” Doton said at halftime. “We let them back in the game with the corner. … We just need to get our energy going [in the second half].”
The Eagles’ energy was noticeably higher to start the third quarter. BC put pressure on the Terriers’ defense, as Martina Giacchino found a gap, but her shot hit the post. Giacchino’s shot came amid nine consecutive shots in a span of 10 minutes for the Eagles.
“They just looked lethargic,” Doton said about her team in the first half. “So [I] just gave them some tactical points. But the most important thing is their controllables, and that’s their energy, and they brought it in the third quarter, and they got rewarded because of it.”
Heck’s acrobatic goal finally broke the tie. She displayed her excellent hand-eye coordination by flicking the ball above Kelly for the score—her fourth goal this season.
The floodgates opened after Heck’s goal. Margo Carlin followed up not long after with a goal off her own rebound in the third quarter.
But it was the Eagles’ defense that remained their strong suit for the rest of the game, holding the Terriers to one goal and just two shots in the second half.
“[It’s] really important,” Doton said of BC’s defense. “That was the emphasis going in, that we have to have a fortress in that defensive circle, definitely moving forward if we want to make it to the NCAA tournament. So I was happy for them.”