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Photo courtesy of BC Women's Soccer / Twitter

Eagles Settle for Tie Against Army

Women’s soccer wrapped up non-conference play with a 2-2 tie against Army on Sunday in their Red Bandana Game. Sophia Lowneberg and Ella Richards scored for the Eagles, while Jasmine Talley and Dara Murray equalized for Army.

Lowneberg struck first for the Eagles in the 29th minute off of a Laura Gouvin corner kick. Gouvin drove the ball into the box and Lowenberg did the rest, heading the ball into the back of the net for her first career goal, giving the Eagles a 1-0 lead.

Army would retaliate before the end of the first half, striking from distance in the 38th minute to level the score. Cami Silvestro found herself with space in the midfield and located Talley making a run on the right side. Talley received the ball in space and took advantage, launching a shot into the upper left corner that diving Eagles keeper Eva Nehas couldn’t save and evened the game at 1-1.

Once again, the Eagles would strike first in the second half, with Ella Richards showing off her technical ability in the box. Éabha O’Mahony sent a long ball into the box that Richards brought down before faking a shot to her right, sending the Army defender hurtling that way. With newly created space, Richards turned to her left and ripped a shot into the left corner to give the Eagles their second lead of the game.

But Army found another goal in them, scoring in the 80th minute to level the score at two and prevent the Eagles from winning the game. This time, Army forward Talley crossed the ball into the box that BC goalkeeper Nehas came out to save. Unfortunately, Murray got to the ball first and poked it home just inside the near post, taking advantage of some chaos in the box.

Nehas made her debut for the Eagles and added a vocal presence to the box, routinely calling out specific instructions to her fellow defenders. Emma Badger also made her first collegiate start, once again adding a vocal presence to the backline and remaining at home in order to allow her fellow defenders to push further up on the wings or, in the case of Claire Mensi, add height in the box on Eagles set pieces. The increased communication helped an Eagles team that was playing with a lineup of regular starters and new faces.

In a game where Army effectively neutralized the wingers, the Eagles demonstrated their depth by advancing up the field in other ways. Richards could drop deep to pull her defender out of position or stay up, creating distance between the Army midfield and forwards. Gouvin, playing a deeper role than seen in previous years, also proved effective, helping to alleviate pressure by checking balls and was also capable of making runs up the center before feeding balls to newly open players.

The Eagles offense has been strong in the past few matchups despite three ties in four games, demonstrating an offensive depth that will help the Eagles as they head into ACC play. The weakness lies in the Eagles giving too much space to the opposing team’s forwards and then, in the reverse, not taking their space when they have it, especially in the center of the field. Despite having the room to dribble forward, the Eagles often turn and pass horizontally or find a shorter pass that bypassed a single defender, but don't advance the ball further up the field in a significant way.

On the defensive end, the Eagles often seem to play a zone, not immediately stepping to oncoming forwards or midfielders, instead shuffling the players out wide before attempting to stop the run. This allows opposing teams to advance deeper into the Eagles’ half before encountering resistance. While soundly positioned, the extra space allows opponents to take a moment to survey their options, or even like Talley, shoot a rocket into the back of the net.

Senior midfielder Sydney Moore wore the No.19 jersey this game instead of her traditional No.27 to honor Welles Crowther as part of the Red Bandana game.

The Eagles (4-1-3) begin ACC play on Friday against reigning national champions Florida State (4-0-2) this Friday at 4pm in Newton.  

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