After an emotional pregame for Boston College women’s soccer on Senior Day, the leadership of BC’s seniors and the play from forward Aislin Streicek stole the show following kickoff.
The junior boasted an impressive statline with two goals and an assist to lead the Eagles (3–3–2) to a 3–2 victory over Sacred Heart (1–4–2).
“She’s been such a gift off the transfer portal for us,” BC head coach Jason Lowe said. “I think today we saw a little bit of what she was capable of.”
The Eagles got off to an explosive start with a dangerous shot by Streicek in the third minute of the game that narrowly missed wide of the right post. Streicek’s next attempt was to the contrary.
Following a pass interception from Ava McNeil in the fifth minute, Streicek received the ball toward the edge of the penalty box and scored a screamer with her left foot past Sacred Heart’s goalkeeper Elyssa Kipperman. The strike was Streicek’s first goal of the season and gave BC an early 1–0 advantage.
Immediately following the Eagles’ early goal, Sacred Heart went on the attack with two corners of its own in the 10th and 11th minutes. The second corner produced an opportunity for the Pioneers’ Lindsay McShea, who made a lob pass attempt inside the box. BC goalkeeper Wiebke Willebrandt slipped and fell trying to block McShea’s pass as the ball trickled into the back of the net to even the score 1–1.
The Eagles seemed shaken up with multiple poor pass attempts and interceptions, but quickly found success in attacking the Pioneers through the right side of the field. In the 31st minute, BC junior Ella Richards found Streicek on the run, who maneuvered her way past three Sacred Heart defenders and took a shot that caught the inside right post and put BC back on top 2–1.
“Anytime we’ve scored early in the game, it just allows them to play a little bit more free,” Lowe said.
Entering halftime, the Eagles tallied nine shot attempts to the Pioneers’ four. Much of their success in the first half can also be attributed to the leadership by seniors on the team.
“This senior class has done a fantastic job of just really taking ownership of the team,” Lowe said. “They do such a great job from the day our freshmen got here in July. Just making sure that everybody’s focused, everybody’s motivated and just, you know, leading by example.”
In the second half, BC took its foot off the pedal offensively and played with a more conservative and patient strategy, controlling the possession of the game, continuing to make good passes when needed, and running into the gaps once space opened up.
“We really focused in on the final third play this week,” Lowe said. “And just being a little bit more patient kind of in the final third and just giving ourselves a chance to get better chances.”
Along with the offense, BC’s defense continued its strong play by preventing Sacred Heart from gaining any momentum until the last moments of the match.
The nail in the coffin for the Pioneers occurred in the 73rd minute. BC defender Claire Mensi won a free kick just past midfield and directed a pass to the red hot Streicek on the left-hand side of the field. Streicek drove down the left side and proceeded to cross the ball into Sophia Lowenberg, who calmly tapped the ball into the net. This gave BC its third goal of the game, the most goals it has scored in a single game all season.
In the 87th minute, BC’s defense fell asleep for the first time all game and allowed Morgan Bovardi of the Pioneers to slip through and score, narrowing the lead to one. Sacred Heart received a free kick in the last minute of the game in an attempt to tie, but it could not capitalize.
The victory marks the first time this season BC has won without shutting out its opponent.
“The thing I really like is that the team is able to execute a game plan,” Lowe said. “That’s what we’re gonna need for each ACC game and I’ll take them one at a time and just try and chip away.”