In the ACC/Big Ten Challenge two weeks ago, Boston College field hockey had two chances to kick start its season with a win against a ranked opponent, taking No. 2 Northwestern and No. 3 Maryland to overtime, but finishing each game in a 1–0 loss.
But on Friday in Charlottesville against No. 6 Virginia, the No. 14 Eagles didn’t leave the game up to sudden death. BC (4–2, 1–0 Atlantic Coast) knocked off No. 6 Virginia (5–2, 0–1 Atlantic Coast) 2–1 thanks to an advantage on late-game penalty corners and yet another phenomenal performance from Margo Carlin, who notched the Eagles first score of the game.
BC sealed its win off a Kara Heck snipe with less than three minutes left.
“Virginia is a very good team and the clock was winding down, tied score, and I know in the back of our players minds, it’s like, are we going to do this again?” BC head coach Kelly Doton said.
The first half had a lot of action at both ends of the field, but each team only managed one goal, going into the break knotted up at one apiece. BC’s goal was aided by a player-up advantage when officials gave Virginia’s Noa Boterman a green card, which suspends a player for two minutes.
BC managed the ball in front of the net, and with the Cavaliers’ defenders scrambling, Madelieve Drion made a short pass to Carlin, who fired a sure shot straight into the back of the net with 8.3 seconds left in the first period.
“[Carlin] shows up on the score sheet, but, you know, what she does pressing wise and defensively goes unnoticed to a lot of people,” Doton said. “She’s used to being in the headlines for some incredible goals, but her presence when she’s on the field, our press is definitely better when she’s there.”
The Cavaliers would equalize in the second period on a cross that BC netminder Caroline Kelly sprawled out for, which allowed the ball to get right to Taryn Tkachuk, who found the back of the open net with ease.
The Eagles were, overall, much more accurate with their shots in the first half, getting seven of eight shots on frame, whereas the Cavaliers only managed to get two of their six shots on net.
Kelly made a big stop on Daniela Mendez-Trendler when the Virginia midfielder got the ball off of a turnover and got the ball rolling towards the net at the 40-minute mark, but Kelly kicked the ball out decisively to keep the tie.
Virginia drew two penalty corners in quick succession in the waning seconds of the third quarter, but BC blocked the first one and the second one was mishandled.
Despite the lack of success on penalty corners, it would be a penalty corner that indirectly allowed BC to score the game winner. Virginia goaltender Tyler Kennedy made a kick save, giving BC the ball up top. The Eagles got the ball deep to Carlin, who made a pass at a tough angle to the front of the net, which Heck fired home to put BC up 2–1.
“We focus on attacking the corners and more importantly, defensive penalty corners and, you know, each time we go up against a different team the defensive penalty corner unit are faced with different things,” Doton said. “The defensive penalty quarter unit held strong and sort of won that game for us in the end.”
The Cavaliers got one more penalty corner at the end of regulation, but their struggles continued and yet another miscue caused the ball to go harmlessly out of bounds, allowing BC to walk off the field with a win.
“This kinda just gives you positivity,” Doton said. “It gives you some strength, it gives you some motivation, it gives, you know, kind of a rebound.”