Sports, Fall, Field Hockey

OT Losses to Maryland and Northwestern Down BC in Big Ten Challenge

Simone Hefting, Mia Garber, and Juliette Hijdra each grabbed their helmets and gloves and jogged to the goal line beside Caroline Kelly to face off in the eighth penalty corner of the weekend. Kelly kept another high-seeded opponent scoreless for all of regulation. Now, all the Boston College field hockey goalie needed to do was last a few more minutes. 

Her swift lunge to the side was a second too soon. As the ball barreled underneath Kelly’s hip, the penalty corner taken by Maryland’s Josie Hollaman handed BC its second consecutive overtime loss in the Big Ten Challenge. 

“We had a chance to win both games, and we just came up a little bit short,” BC head coach Kelly Doton said. “Not letting a goal in regulation against two really offensive teams is something to be proud of.”

Despite holding two high-seeded opponents scoreless for 60 minutes of regulation play this weekend, the Eagles’ squandered scoring opportunities proved to be their downfall as they failed to capitalize during extra time. No. 17 BC (2–2) dropped back-to-back overtime losses to No. 2 Northwestern on Friday and No. 3 Maryland on Sunday, respectively, by just a razor-thin margin of one goal each. 

On Sunday, Kara Heck ignited the energy in the second quarter with quick reflexes and quality chances, helping BC tally five shots and leaving Maryland unable to maintain possession. Margo Carlin produced three penalty corner opportunities in the second quarter alone, but the Eagles could not find the back of the net. On the other end of the field, Kelly stood steady between the posts and rendered three penalty corners scoreless. 

“[Kelly] came over from BU so she’s faced a lot of great teams and has a lot of experience in net,” Doton said. “She knows how to organize her defense. She’s vocal. It comes with comfort for our players in front of her.” 

In the second half, BC squandered its momentum, putting up only one shot in the following 30 minutes of play. The Terrapins dominated in offensive pressure, responding with another five shots. Tensions only continued to heighten as officials gave two green cards to both teams in the third quarter and overturned a Maryland goal in the fourth quarter. 

Although the Eagles’ energy had been extinguished as the clock ran out, Kelly regained strength to make the final save of the frame. The goaltender fended off 11 shots in regulation against Maryland but couldn’t hold off the Terrapins in the extra time, handing BC its second 1–0 overtime loss. 

“They’re a fast offense, just like Northwestern was on Friday for us,” Doton said. “We had too many turnovers. We cost ourselves a couple counterattack opportunities for them and they’re gonna make you pay. That’s what the teams do. Our defense held together after those mistakes.”

Just two days prior, on Friday, Northwestern handed the Eagles a loss in identical fashion—a 1–0 overtime knockout. BC accumulated just eight total shots in the contest while the Wildcats registered 13 total and three in overtime. Northwestern also led in saves with seven and penalty corners with seven. 

The Eagles faced a similar struggle to score but managed to match the energy of the Wildcats with three shots, three saves, and two corners before halftime. Kelly outlasted three consecutive penalty corners in the third quarter, and the Eagles dominated offensive pressure in the fourth, but the clock ran out before BC could tack on a goal. 

Northwestern capitalized on an Ilse Tromp wrap-around assist to an unmarked Peyton Halsey, who booked in the first and final goal of the matchup at the 65:51 mark in overtime. 

“Those are two of the top teams in the country, hands down,” Doton said. “They were in the final four last year. It gives us a gateway to the speed of what the ACC is gonna be.”

September 4, 2023