(Editor's note: The BC field hockey team received an unlikely at-large bid in the NCAA tournament as of November 10th,and will play a first-round game versus UCONN at Syracuse University on November 16th.)
The Boston College field hockey team was in an all-too familiar situation in the second half of its first-round ACC tournament match-up with the Syracuse Orange today.
Down by two goals, the team charged from the locker room after halftime with hopes of overcoming a 3-1 deficit and picking up their first ACC tournament victory in program history.
Earlier in the season, they came back from a 2-1 deficit in the first half against Syracuse and won in dominating fashion, 6-3.
This time, the outcome wasn't as favorable.
Syracuse scored three unanswered goals in the first half, and stymied BC's offensive efforts in the second half to beat the Eagles 3-1 and advance to the second round of the ACC Championships.
Senior forward Chapin Duke got BC on the board first when she connected with Ashleigh Sebia's cross a little over 15 minutes into the game. It was Duke's fifth goal of the year and fourth in ACC play.
Syracuse quickly responded when Leonie Geyer converted on one of two penalty corners in the first half, and took the lead when Emma Russell, a sophomore forward from Enniskerry, Ireland, put back a rebound off BC goalkeeper Leah Settipane with 18 minutes to go in the first half.
Settipane, who led the ACC in saves and saves per game in regular season play, registered nine saves on 12 shots on goal.
The Orange finally seized momentum after Lauren Brooks' deflection into the top fringe of the BC net gave SU a 3-1 lead with one second remaining in the first half of play. BC would never answer after that score.
Determined to hold their lead, the Orange played suffocating defense in the second half to advance to the next round of ACC Championships, allowing BC just four shots on goal in the last 35 minutes of play.
BC fell to 12-7 on the year with the loss, but head coach Ainslee Lamb asserted that the outcome of today's game would not define a 2013 season that included upsets of a No. 2-ranked UConn squad and a then-fifth-ranked Syracuse team in September.
"I don't think the game defined this season because of the results of the game," Lamb, who picked up her 100th career win earlier in the year, said. "This is a talented group. We had this motto of '25 strong,' and this entire season, they really lived that motto and that was exciting to me. I think it's the most talented team I've had to date at Boston College."
Lamb said that while every year is a fresh start--a "new book," as she phrased it--the efforts of the senior class have propelled BC field hockey to levels of competition that were previously untapped.
"We had five incredible seniors lead this program," Lamb said. "That class has brought our team to this level, and our tribute to them is that we've got to work to take that next step. The commitment we made to each other when we left today is that we are going to build off of where they have gotten us to."
BC will lose just two starters to graduation for the 2014 campaign.