In a matinee match on Newton Soccer Field, Boston College women's soccer edged No. 18 Wake Forest 1-0 Sunday afternoon, lifting its record in ACC play to .500 on the year. A back-and-forth battle mired with long passes and deep crosses finally saw the Eagles break through in the 74th minute.
From the outset, the game had a “first-to-one” feel. Despite numerous chances around the box for both BC (8-4-0) and Wake Forest (8-2-1), the defensive back lines stood tall, promptly defusing any opportunity. However, a hand ball off the fingers of senior defender Madison Kenny on a shot by Wake’s Estelle Laurier with just under 16 minutes in the first half sparked the first real scoring chance: the penalty kick.
The Demon Deacons’ leading scorer and offensive catalyst Bayley Feist stepped up to the penalty spot on the field. The star junior midfielder then sent a strike into the lower left corner of the goal, but BC’s Alexis Bryant made the perfect guess. Diving to the right corner of the goal, the redshirt junior simultaneously saved the shot and the Eagles’ upset hopes in an instant. The reigning co-Eagle of the Week Bryant showed a snapshot of her defensive prowess that has lead BC to five shutouts in just twelve games. Suddenly, the tide seemed to turn.
Through the end of the first half and into the beginning of the second, an Eagle goal felt imminent. First, a Sam Coffey corner deflected off the crossbar in the 33rd minute. Then, a would-be Olivia Vaughn goal was revoked due to an offsides call with just minutes to play at the end of the half. With the momentum leaking over through halftime, BC kept the pressure on once play resumed. However, not until the 74th minute was the tie finally broken.
After some pinball-like play in the middle third, BC’s freshman midfielder Jillian Jennings finally got a hold of the ball and sent a beautiful through ball to a streaking Olivia Vaughn. Beating the Demon Deacon defender even as she was draped over her back, Vaughn eventually found enough free space to send the ball rolling into the lower left corner of the net. Tallying her fifth goal on the season, the sophomore forward now sits atop the Eagles leaderboard in goals this season alongside redshirt-senior captain Lauren Berman.
In the final 15 minutes of play, Wake Forest constantly attempted to dump the ball into the final third in order to create some type of opportunity, but the Eagle backline, led by Senior Allyson Swaby and freshman Gianna Mitchell, held strong. As the time wound down and the defense stayed composed, the reality of a Boston College upset grew more and more likely.
At last, the clock struck zero, and the Eagles had recorded their best win of the year. Now sitting in the middle of a highly talented ACC conference, the women's soccer program seems to be flourishing fwith confidence. Despite disappointing early season losses to William & Mary and Harvard, the Eagles are now 4-1 in their last five contests.
This Friday night, BC will look to stay hot and avenge last year’s loss to Virginia Tech. This past season, the Hokies defeated the Eagles 3-2 on Newton.
I idolize Theo Epstein for bringing me the best day of my life (Cubs 2016 World Series Championship). If I'm not watching women's soccer, I'm likely eating raw pasta.