Early on in the season in a road game against an unfamiliar opponent, one might expect a team to rely on veteran leadership to produce offense and win the game.
But in Sunday’s game against Akron, two freshmen came up big for Boston College women’s soccer.
The Eagles (2–3–1) defeated Akron (1–4) 2–0 behind back-to-back Bella Douglas and Hannah Schmelzle goals in the second half. BC also held its opponent scoreless for the third time this season.
The Eagles challenged Akron in the first half, but their efforts were left fruitless as Akron’s goalkeeper Sara Bower kept them off the board. BC had two solid chances dribbling in front of the six-yard box, but Bower caught both of their two shots on net cleanly to deny an early score.
But Bower couldn’t do anything about the Eagles’ best chance of the first half, an Ella Richards rising shot that hit the crossbar and deflected back out into play in the 37th minute. If Richards had put the shot just a little bit lower, the powerful strike would have beaten Bower and gotten BC on the board.
Nevertheless, the game carried into halftime scoreless, with Akron failing to get a shot on net in the first half.
Akron’s Emma King did a good job of testing BC goalkeeper Wiebke Willebrandt in the first few minutes of the second half with a rocket of a shot, but it missed the net by about a foot.
Douglas, however, fired a shot past Bower about six minutes later off a feed from Richards to break the scoreless tie and notch her first collegiate goal. The Montclair, N.J., native’s first goal was a rocket, and although Bower got both hands on it, it was too much to handle, and BC took the lead.
Just two minutes later, fellow freshman Schmelzle put one in the net to double BC’s lead with a shot that was essentially the opposite of Douglas’. The Leipzig, Germany native’s shot was a beautiful bending strike that curled around two Akron defenders to bounce off the back post and beat Bower.
Sunday was also Schmelzle’s first collegiate game.
Despite a few tests from Akron, Willebrandt held strong, keeping out the only two shots that got on net with ease to ensure that the Eagles would not leave Ohio empty handed.
While the surprising offense from the two freshmen injected some new hope into the Eagles as they head into their final two matches before ACC play, the story on defense remains the same. In every game in which BC has allowed a goal, they have lost. Finding more offense in the future will be crucial in order to support its dominant defensive performance, like during Sunday’s win.