On Sunday afternoon the Boston College women’s soccer team defeated Florida State 2-1 on Newton Campus, keeping a perfect record of 10-0. Florida State is an incredibly talented team led by Deyna Castellanos, a Venezuela national team star and finalist for The Best FIFA Women’s Player Award in 2017. However, Castellanos and her teammates were left frustrated in a high-energy first half.
The Eagles were masterful defensively and kept the majority of possession. Midfielders Sam Coffey, Mijke Roelfsema, and Kayla Jennings dominated in the air and seemed to win every 50-50 ball. Defensively, freshman Kayla Duran was aggressive and flying around the box, making strong tackles. Defenders Elysa Virella and Gianna Mitchell were also both impressive with their distribution from the back. They were composed under pressure and crucial in initiating several counter-attacking opportunities.
Florida State was only able to muster five shots in the first half, with just two of those being on target. Natalia Kuikka, the talented senior from Finland, came close on a tenth minute free kick, but the rest of the Noles’ chances were non-threatening shots from long range.
The most dangerous of the Eagles’ first-half chances came in a minute 30 indirect free kick. Pressure from the BC forwards caused FSU's goalkeeper, Brooke Bollinger, to illegally handle a back pass from Kuikka. BC restarted play quickly, but forward Jenna Bike’s shot was saved by Bollinger, and her rebound sailed just wide of the top right corner. Later, BC forward Carly Leipzig, a senior, nearly gave the Eagles the lead going into halftime off a through ball from Sam Coffey, but her shot went straight to Bollinger’s gloves.
Florida State began the second half well, keeping possession more comfortably than they had in the first. To their advantage, BC was also a bit sloppy passing out of defense, as goalkeeper Alexis Bryant nearly turned the ball over with a open net. However, by minute 51, the momentum quickly shifted in favor of the Eagles, as Jenna Bike broke free from two defenders on a counter-attack and was pulled down from behind in the box, earning a penalty. Gabby Carriero stepped to the spot and confidently converted a powerful strike into the bottom left corner to give BC a 1-0 lead. The conversion was her third goal of the season and the first goal Florida State had given up to an unranked opponent this season.
Florida State upped the intensity in response, and Castellanos nearly tied the game with a free kick in minute 53. Bryant, though, made an incredible save to claw the ball away from the bottom left corner of the goal. The Noles then brought their fullbacks far up the wings and began playing the whole width of the field. In response, the Eagles dropped back defensively and clamped down around the box. Along with Castellanos, midfielders Kaycie Tillman and Yujie Zhao controlled the game and created constant opportunities around the BC penalty box. FSU’s aggression was rewarded in minute 74, as midfielder Gloriana Villalobos was tripped up in the box by Kayla Duran.
Castellanos smashed her fourth goal of the season into the top left corner on the ensuing penalty kick to level the game at 1-1. Nonetheless, Florida State’s equalizer was short-lived, as a beautiful over-the-top ball by Emily Langenderfer was chipped home by Jenna Bike to give BC a late 2-1 advantage just seconds later. The eventual game-winning goal was Bike's first of the season.
Bryant’s biggest save came in the last minute when Florida State won a free kick just outside the box and took it quickly. Bryant made a miraculous save with her outstretched leg on a powerful, low-driven shot, preserving the 2-1 lead and granting the Eagles the win.
The BC women’s soccer team’s tenth consecutive win matches a program record. The team's convincing win over No. 7 Florida State has grabbed the country's attention. A team built on stellar defense, BC showed a lot offensively, putting two goals past an FSU defense that had given up only two goals so far this season.
The Eagles travel to Wake Forest on Thursday, September 27 for a 7 p.m. clash. The team has a great opportunity to continue their undefeated season in Winston-Salem and set a program record for the most consecutive wins.
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