Photo courtesy of BC Women's Soccer / Twitter

Women's Soccer Ties Providence 1-1

Sam Smith scored a late equalizer to give the Eagles the 1-1 tie against the Providence Friars on Thursday night to wrap up a three-game road trip for the Eagles. Alexis Rothmann would score for Providence late in the second half in what was a game of ever-changing momentum.

As time trickled down in the second half, Smith struck to make the score 1-1 with a little over nine minutes to go. The Eagles had a chance in the box, but the Friars cleared. Luckily, Smith had situated herself at the top of the box on the left side and the clear landed near her. From a distance, Smith managed to get a shot off, tucking the ball inside the left post past the diving Friars goalkeeper, Emma Bodmer. The equalizer was Smith’s fifth of the year, with Laura Gouvin receiving an assist on the play. 

Rothmann capitalized on the fifth Friars corner in the 28th minute, scoring her first goal of the year to make it 1-0. Initially, it seemed like the Eagles had the corner cleared, with a defender heading the ball away, but the clear fell to Rothmann, who chipped it just over a diving Wiebke Willebrandt and into the left corner. Kyla Gallagher was credited with an assist on the play, having popped the ball up and into space and leading to two Eagles defenders attempting to clear, only to have the contested header bounce to Rothmann.

The first half started slow, as has been the Eagle's tradition so far this season. BC struggled to maintain possession, adjusting to Providence’s press and attempting to impose their own shape on the Friars. In the first nine minutes, the Eagles had surrendered four corners, as the Friars pushed down the wings, finding success especially on the right side. Two saves by Willebrandt kept the score 0-0, aided by strong defensive play.

While Providence preferred the right side, the Eagles preferred the left, finding success at the feet of Sam Smith, who controlled the left flank in order to generate a cross into the middle, searching for Ella Richards. As the Eagles settled in, momentum looked to be on their side, with BC receiving four corner kicks in six minutes, but they were unable to capitalize. The Friars would weather the storm and then race back down the field to pressure the Eagles in transition. Several Eagles substitutions attempted to nullify this, with head coach Jason Lowe subbing in speedy wingers like Andi Barth and forward Sydney Segalla to create additional speed on the Eagle's end. 

Much like the first, the second half started with the Eagles struggling to maintain consistent pressure. Richards proved more involved, taking a shot herself in the 47th minute that Friars goalie Bodmer saved without much trouble. On the night, Bodmer would save four shots, none particularly dangerous aside from the Smith goal. The Eagles couldn’t seem to gain control of the midfield, struggling to string passes together and connect, especially in the final third.

After the Smith goal, the Eagles came alive, dominating both wings with speed, as well as maintaining possession for a sustained amount of time, pressuring the Friar's back line consistently for the first time all game. The late consistency and strong second half have been a hallmark of the Eagles all season, with most of the Eagle's goals coming in the second half. In connection with the late second-half goals, the Eagles have also fallen into the habit of giving up an early goal, usually due to a shaky defensive start as players adjust to the opponent. With one non-conference game left, the Eagles will be looking to start strong and better weather an early storm from their opponent.

Emma Badger made her debut for the Eagles on defense in the second half. The Eagles looked to be more offensively minded while preventing some of the runs down the flanks that opened up space for Providence and created chances that Willebrandt cleaned up.

Next up for the Eagles (4-1-2) is a match against Army (1-3-2), at home at Newton on Sunday at 1:30. The game is the last non-conference game of the season for the Eagles.

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