Sports, Fall, Women's Soccer

Eagles’ Scoring Struggles Continue, BC Drops Road Match to Pittsburgh

Seven minutes into the second half of the Boston College women’s soccer game against conference rival Pittsburgh on the road, it appeared as though the Eagles had a chance to claw their way back into the game. After a tough first half in which the Panthers went ahead 1–0 and held BC to only one shot, the Eagles were starting to gain confidence and aggressively press Pitt’s offense. When BC got their first corner in the 52nd minute of the game, it seemed like a shot on target was inevitable. 

Pitt’s defense, however, managed to stop the Eagles on the corner kick, and the Panthers (9–2–1, 2–1–1 Atlantic Coast) immediately started to counterattack the weakened BC (3–7–2, 0–4) defense. Pitt forward Amanda West found midfielder Ellie Coffield on the right edge of the box in the 57th minute, and she hit a perfect shot into the top corner to put Pitt up 2–0 and seal the game. 

Besides the opening minutes of the second half, Pitt was in complete control of the game. The Panthers dominated possession from the opening whistle and effectively moved the ball through the Eagles’ midfield throughout the contest. If it wasn’t for the heroics of BC’s defense, the difference would have certainly been greater than two goals.

In the fifth minute, it seemed like Pitt had taken the lead on a Coffield close-range shot, but she was ruled offside. Less than a minute later, Deborah Abiodun, who played for Nigeria in the Women’s World Cup earlier this year, provided a great backheel pass to Sarah Schupansky, who was able to slide the ball into the bottom corner from a tough angle to put Pitt up 1–0.

This was the first of many opportunities for the Panthers, who registered 23 shots in the game, 18 of which were on goal. 

Pitt almost doubled its lead in the ninth minute, but defender Sarai Costello deflected what looked like a sure goal. 

Eagles goalkeeper Wiebke Willebrandt did her best to keep the Eagles in the game, registering 16 total saves. Willebrandt denied Pitt midfielder Landy Mertz, who had seven shots in the game, in the 15th minute to keep the Panthers lead at one. Willebrandt was shaken up while making a save in the 20th minute, but she stayed in the game.

Sydney Segalla had BC’s first shot of the game in the 33rd minute, a long distance attempt that hit the crossbar, marking the Eagles’ lone offensive bright spot in the first half. Pitt continued to challenge Willebrandt and in the 36th minute forward Samiah Phiri dribbled past three BC defenders and found an opening, but Willebrandt made the save.

By the end of the first half, Willebrandt had set her season high in saves with 10. She finished with a career-high 14 saves to notch 208 career saves, becoming one of five goalkeepers in program history to reach the 200-career save mark. 

The Eagles’ attackers, meanwhile, were held in check during the first half, taking only one shot to Pitt’s 13. They failed to connect on passes due to the Panthers’ impressive defense and were incapable of breaking Pitt’s press.

But BC came out much stronger in the second half, effectively moving the ball inside Pitt territory for the first time all game. This only lasted until Coffield’s goal, which proved impossible for Willebrandt to stop. And once Pitt went up 2–0, it conceded possession and started playing a lot more defensively, preventing BC from creating any solid scoring opportunities and finishing the game scoreless.

October 1, 2023