After a grueling day of heat, and trailing Dartmouth 1–0, Boston College women’s soccer’s Claire Mensi set the ball down on the penalty kick line after a handball in the box with a chance to tie the game.
The whistle blew, Mensi wound up, and she hammered the ball hard and low past Dartmouth goaltender Emily Hardy to tie the game at one apiece. The game marked a season-high 18 scoring opportunities for BC (2–3–2), none of which were capitalized on during Thursday’s game against Dartmouth (3–0–2). Dartmouth’s three-game win streak was snapped.
While BC fought to find its footing in the first half of the game, Dartmouth pounced on its weakness and struck first.
Fourteen minutes into the game, Dartmouth moved the ball down the field into the Eagles’ left corner. Big Green forward Carly Retterer crossed the ball through the box to midfielder Danielle Burke, who shot the ball behind BC goaltender Wiebke Willebrandt to put Dartmouth ahead.
BC couldn’t make it past the wall of Big Green at the top of the box. Even though they had two corner kicks, the Eagles only had two shots on goal, both by Emily Sapienza.
“I think we lost control of the midfield a little bit,” BC head coach Jason Lowe said. “We had a lot of space to play, but we didn’t take advantage. You know, defensively, they didn’t really have too much.”
A particular struggle was at the top of Dartmouth’s goaltender box.
“I knew they were gonna work hard, and I knew they were gonna be, you know, solid defensively,” Lowe said. “We know [Dartmouth head coach Taylor] Schram when she starts to play, and I just think we had more opportunities to get in behind them and get around them.”
But the energy shifted after the whistle blew to start the second half. The Eagles visibly had more energy and more offensive attacks in the last 45 minutes of the game—it just took some time for BC to gain its composure to generate better chances in the face of roster obstacles.
“Yeah, it’s just been kind of our thing getting off to a fast start against teams,” Lowe said. “And, you know, we’ve been getting some sickness and some injuries and things were pretty low in numbers today. And I think it just took some time for some people to rally and step up in those roles.”
There were many scoring opportunities throughout the game for the Eagles, especially from senior forward Emily Sapienza. She sent a shot right over the crossbar with 25:37 left in the second half, and with about five minutes remaining she had a close shot on goal. She accounted for half of the team’s shots on goal with three and had eight shots overall.
“I mean, we created 18 chances on the attacking side,” Lowe said. “We definitely created enough [chances] to, I think, win the game.”
The Eagles’ sole goal came from Mensi’s penalty kick.
BC managed to hold Dartmouth scoreless in the second half, which had a lot to do with strong goaltending from Willebrandt. Willebrant made a diving stop to block Hailey Rorick’s roaring shot on goal with 22 minutes left in the game and also made a crucial save to prevent Kellie Sutton from scoring with two minutes remaining.
“We just kind of rush things a little bit,” Lowe said. “So we’ve just got to be more disciplined.”