The goals came fast and furious, within three different 15-minute spans, in the Eagles' 6-0 ACC loss to no. 12 and last year’s national champions Florida State on Friday afternoon at Newton.
Onyi Echegini scored a hattrick for FSU, with Jenna Nighswonger and Sophia Nguyen completing the trio of goal scorers.
Florida State struck immediately, with midfielder Echegini slotting home a beautiful arching goal in the second minute of the game. Echegini found herself in space on the right side of the field, cut back near the touchline to lose her defender, and rifled off a shot that arched into the left corner, across the face of the goal and into the far post side netting. While the Eagles typically start slow, Florida State is the first team to take full advantage of that fact, putting BC on the back foot before the game truly got started.
It would be Echegini again in the 12th minute, this time with Jody Brown assisting. Brown received the ball with speed on the left half, near the top of the box, and noticed Echegini open, just inside the 18-yard line. Brown slotted home a pass that found Echegini between two defenders and the midfielder made the most of the opportunity, slicing the ball across her body and back into the left corner, past BC keeper Wiebke Willebrandt to make it 2-0.
Echegini netted her third ten minutes into the second, with the assist coming from Clara Robbins, completing the hattrick. Robbins received the ball near the top center of the 18-yard box, turned to her left, and found the streaking Echegini on the left side, open and in space. Robbins fed Echegini the ball, who caught up to it at the 6-yard box and tapped it into the left corner, past Eagles keeper Willebrandt.
Perhaps the funkiest goal of the game came five minutes later, off an FSU corner that Jenna Nighswonger banged off the back post to make the score 4-0 on an olimpico goal. Nighswonger took the corner kick on the right side with her right foot, bending it high and arching to the back post, where it clanged off and into the back of the net without another player touching it.
FSU midfielder Nguyen added to the route in the 75th minute, scoring her first collegiate goal. Olivia Garcia assisted on the play, receiving the ball inside the box on the right side and flicking the ball back up to a waiting Nguyen out wide. Nguyen took a touch and lobbed the ball across the face of the goal, looking for a header from one of two FSU players in the box. The ball landed, took a deflection off of a BC player and dribbled inside the goal on the left side.
Kaitlyn St. Zipay would finish out the scoring for FSU in the 84th minute, draining the life out of an Eagles side that had held up reasonably well against an offense. Emma Bissell and St. Zipay played a give and go through the middle, with Bissell’s final pass finding St. Zipay in front of her defender in an onside position. St. Zipay took a touch and then shot across her body to tuck the ball into the back post, making the score 6-0 FSU.
Although FSU dominated the possession and game flow in the first, the Eagles responded to the pressure by subbing in Sydney Segalla, Andi Barth, and Riley Kerber, opting for a faster front three to combine with the already speedy Sam Smith. Immediately, Segalla and Barth proved a frustrating combination for the FSU defenders.
No ACC game would be complete without a little controversy, and in the 32nd minute, it appeared that Barth might have scored, with a single-minded effort in the box. Barth brought the ball down, fought off her defender, and chopped the ball around the goalie. A sliding FSU defender cleared the ball at the line, but Barth and the Eagles believed the ball had crossed the goal line, with Barth celebrating as the referee waved it off. The almost goal would be the Eagles' best chance of the half, but more importantly, the infusion of speed helped to increase the pressure on FSU, proving the team could be vulnerable.
The second half started stronger for the Eagles, with Ella Richards centering a speedy forward trio with Segalla and Barth. However, the two goals in quick succession put the Eagles on their heels, and the second half quickly became a rut as head coach Jason Lowe opted for experience, subbing in new players regularly as the game slipped further and further out of reach.
The game was a trial by ACC fire and the score line demonstrated how much ground the Eagles have to make up. However, most of the goals occurred due to FSU being provided with too much space and time in-between the Eagles lines—not the easiest fix in the world, but something that sustained practice and perhaps a switch from a more zonal defense to man marking, especially on set pieces, can adjust.
The Eagles (4-1-3) continue their ACC campaign against no.3 Duke (5-2) this Thursday, September 22 at 7:00 pm in an away matchup.
Be sure to follow @BCGavelSports for all the latest updates on Boston College Athletics.