After a delayed start to the season, soccer will finally be returning to Chestnut Hill.
The BC Women’s Soccer team will be the sole Boston College team on the soccer pitch this Fall, after the men’s team elected to forgo their season. Their first kickoff is this Thursday, October 1st, away at Notre Dame.
The Fighting Irish are the first of eight opponents in a brutal ACC gauntlet over the next month. The Eagles trudged to a disappointing 1-8-1 conference record last year in Head Coach Jason Lowe’s first year at the helm, and due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, there will, unfortunately, be no non-conference games this time around for them to raise their overall record to 8-8-2 like in 2019.
The eight-game slate is split between four home games and four road games apiece and is front-loaded with three road games starting with Notre Dame. An ACC road trip is a steep task for any program, let alone one that is just beginning its season, breaking in 10 new players, and starting practice several weeks later than its competition.
On the bright side, the season will be an excellent growth opportunity for a squad brimming with young talent and key returnees.
Laying the foundation for a program ready to take its next step are captains Jenna Bike, Jillian Jennings, and Mia Karras. Bike is returning to the pitch as a graduate student after missing all of her senior year due to injury and will try to fill the large shoes left by the graduation of Olivia Vaughn, who led BC with 12 goal contributions in 18 games last season.
Jennings and Karras appeared in all 18 games last season and bring much-needed leadership and experience back to the Eagles midfield and backline.
Karras will spearhead the Eagles’ defense alongside fellow senior and returning starter Riley Lochead. Sophomores Michela Agresti and Syndey Moore join them with a year of starting experience each to fill out a rugged backline that held opponents to 1.72 goals per game in 2019 and should be one of BC’s strong points this season.
Those four will be trying to make life easier for Allie Augur in goal who is coming off an impressive freshman season of her own in which she registered a .654 save percentage and recorded 4 shutouts in 16 appearances.
The headliner in Chestnut Hill this year is Sam Smith at forward, who is looking to follow up on a magnificent freshman season and take on the bulk of the Eagles’ goalscoring responsibilities.
In her debut season last year, Smith led the team with 8 goals to her name as a midfielder and earned herself a spot on the All-ACC Freshman team. She will be looking to supply Bike and a host of new forwards upfront in junior Emily Knous transferring in from the University of Arizona, junior Nye Day, freshman Zoie Allen, and freshman Linda Lif Boama.
The 2020 season will most certainly be an unprecedented and bumpy road for everyone involved, but a modified season in which anything can happen may bode well for the Eagles who have been itching to play and rebound after falling short of the ACC tournament last year.
Jason Lowe has nowhere to go but up in his second year as head coach, and he has a wealth of talent at his disposal to help him exceed expectations and push BC back into the upper tier of the ACC.
If the Eagles can mask their relative inexperience behind the lack of overall preparation affecting all ACC teams, they should be able to hang on through a midseason stretch that sees them face ranked Pitt, Duke, and UNC consecutively and steal some wins on the peripherals of their schedule.
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