The Eagles faced off against Northeastern at Parsons Field on Sunday, August 21st. Although it was a close contest for most of the game, the Eagles won 4-1, with Andi Barth scoring the game-winning goal in a chippy affair that featured five yellow cards and one red assigned to BC.
Barth’s goal in the 42nd minute helped the Eagles regain momentum going into the second half. Riley Kerber noticed Barth alone on the right wing and fed her a ball that sent the speedy right winger in on goal alone. Barth made no mistake in finding the back of the net, giving the Eagles the 2-1 lead with three minutes left in the first. The goal is Barth’s first in her college career.
Emily Sapienza made her mark in her first start for BC, scoring the first goal of the game in the 13th minute. Ella Richards crossed to a wide-open Sapienza on the right, who excellently placed the ball past Holland Stam and into the back left netting. The play was a near carbon copy of an earlier chance, where, instead of shooting immediately, Sapienza took a few touches into the center of the box and a Northeastern defender was able to slow her down enough to prevent a dangerous shot.
It was a tale of two different BC sides in the first half, with the Eagles dominating through the first 20 minutes, before giving up a goal in the 28th minute. Huskie midfielder Vivian Akyirem slipped past Sarai Costello, putting herself in alone against Wiebke Willebrandt. The bouncing shot crept into the back left to make the score 1-1 with 17 minutes left in the first.
The Eagles spent most of the first spreading the field laterally, finding space as Northeastern defended centrally against the threat that Richards posed. Most of the action occurred on the left flank, although both goals came from the Huskies leaving the right-wingers too much space, allowing them a one-on-one with Huskie keeper Stam. A strong physical presence in the midfield helped keep the Huskies off the ball and allowed the Eagles extended space to survey the field and pass into space.
Not everything went the Eagles' way in the first, however. The Akyirem goal was a result of the Eagles growing complacent and allowing Northeastern to sneak back into the game. While the Huskies subs helped to stabilize a shaky Northeastern side, the Eagles subs were mostly freshmen, gaining valuable minutes but also demonstrating their inexperience at times. Instead of the pinpoint passes of the first 20 minutes, the Eagles resorted to long balls and desperation clearances from the backline, instead of retaining possession.
The Eagles came out swinging at the start of the second, with Sydney Segalla and Andi Barth outrunning Northeastern on the wings and crossing in dangerous balls for Alycia Morin. The Huskies couldn’t keep up and Segalla nearly found the back of the net in the 56th minute, taking space at the top of the box and rifling off a shot that hit the crossbar and bounced down, just in front of the line. No Eagles could get to it before Northeastern cleared it out.
Although BC knocked on the door for most of the second, it took until the 79th minute for Sam Smith to convert on a penalty kick. A Laura Gouvin corner bounced loose in the box, with several Eagles attempting to push the ball into the back of the net. Smith missed her initial chance and the Huskie tackle caught more of Smith than the ball, resulting in a penalty kick. Smith stepped up to the spot and buried a left-footed shot slotted into the left side netting after a long run-up to make the score 3-1 for the Eagles.
BC forward Richards scored her first of the season three minutes later off an Éabha O’Mahony cross into the box. Richards collected the ball on the left side of the box before finding the back of the net.
The red card game in the 84th minute, with a Husky draping herself over Richards as she ran down the touchline. While the play would have likely resulted in a yellow for Northeastern, Richards retaliated, sending an elbow her way that did not make contact, and received a straight red and dismissal from the field. Richard’s card and the referee's lack of leniency likely came from the multiple yellow cards already assessed to players, as well as a conversation with the Boston College bench. Two minutes later the BC bench would receive a yellow card as well.
Despite the score line, Northeastern refused to go away, coming up with several chances throughout the second half. Their best came in the 68th minute when forward Megan Putvinski’s shot sailed just a hair over the crossbar. The Huskies’ inability to control the Eagles’ speedy wingers made the difference, allowing the Eagles’ to find the back of the net while frustrating Northeastern’s offense.
Next up, the Eagles (2-0-0) return to Newton to face No.9 Michigan on Thursday the 25th at 7:00 pm for another nonconference game.
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