add_theme_support( 'post-thumbnails' );Stonehill Stuns BC, Wins 2-1 - BANG.
Photo Courtesy of Boston College Men's Soccer / Twitter

Stonehill Stuns BC, Wins 2-1

The Newton nightmare continued on Tuesday, as the Eagles lost 2-1 to Stonehill, giving the program their first ever win over an ACC team. Augustine Boadi scored his third goal of the season, tying him with Jonathan Murphy for the team lead.  Jacob Woznicki and Ekrem Hadzic scored for Stonehill.

It was a nightmare for the Eagles. In the 83rd minute, Stonehill was awarded a corner kick, whipping the ball into the BC box and hoping for a chance. They would get one, as Eagles keeper Brennan Klein leapt up to try and punch the ball away but couldn’t get a clean look at it with two bodies in his way. The clearance fell to Hadzic, who managed to boot the ball back towards the Eagles net while going to ground. With the ball past Klein, it seemed certain to be a goal until an Eagles player stuck his hand out, blocked the ball, and sent it back into play. As Stonehill called for a handball, Hadzic simply headed the rebound to the near post at point blank range. Stonehill celebrated going up 2-1 while the Eagles looked on in despair. 

The Eagles looked caught off guard from the start, but a Boadi goal in the 8th minute seemed like the perfect course correction. The play started with Xavier O’Neil hustling down the touchline to save a ball, passing up to Marco Dos Santos, who returned the pass to O’Neil, now at the goal line. O’Neil passed the ball into the center of the box, where Boadi was standing at the top of the six-yard box and calmly slotted the ball home to the far post. The goal was Boadi’s third of the season and gave the Eagles the early 1-0 lead.

Pesky and sensing blood in the water due to the Eagles poor start, Stonehill answered in the 32nd minute. Ben Mazza-Bergeron found space from outside the 18-yard box and lofted in a cross towards the center, hoping to take advantage of BC’s lack of height. The cross found Woznicki in a height mismatch with Jack Burgess. Beating out his defender, Woznicki flicked the cross towards the near post, where it went off the post and in to tie the game 1-1.

Outshot, outorganized, and outplayed, the Stonehill game dramatically revealed the Eagles' issues this season. Playing a possession-based style designed to keep the opposition from finding the back of the net, BC has yet to play 90 minutes of mistake free soccer—and once the opposition scores a goal the game is over. Undisciplined, part of the defensive height mismatch in the first half was a result of starting center back CJ Williams missing the game due to yellow card suspension. Marco Dos Santos will miss Clemson for the same reason.

Stonehill managed seven shots on goal. The Eagles? Four. Not to say that there weren’t moments of magic. Alfie Hughes had the ball on a string for most of the match, dancing past three or four defenders on the left side before cutting in and across the top of the 18-yard box. But even Hughes’ magic couldn’t find a pass in the final third that cut through the Stonehill defense and challenged keeper Kyle Tencza. Relying on Boadi’s speed or a set passing sequence between O’Neil and Dos Santos failed to produce dangerous chances as well. The Eagles have not found a way to become a dangerous team and have two games left to find an answer that’s eluded them for 14 games already.

Telling of BC’s frustration was the lack of cohesion across the field. Simple passes were intercepted, players made runs that no one saw or didn’t make runs but a player passed anyways. The defense yelled at the offense, the offense yelled at the wingbacks, midfielders yelled at the offense and the defense. Captain Diego Ochoa reminded the Eagles to keep their shape for most of the first half. Unable to score, unable to prevent the other team from scoring, BC’s frustration boiled over on Tuesday, contributing to a startling lack of cohesion made more noticeable by the way Stonehill played as a team. Stonehill adjusted in second half, playing with more physicality. The Eagles ran it back and recycled the ball through the defense to set up the same passing sequence with the hopes it would work this time.

The Eagles (3-7-4) had their final regular season away game against no.15 Clemson (8-3-2) on Friday, October 20th at 6:00 pm.