ACC Tournament’s First Round Too Much Of A Hurdle For Eagles

Several weeks ago, after the first home game of the season, head coach Ainslee Lamb said the Boston College field hockey team’s season goals included becoming a top-10 team and returning to the NCAA tournament. No. 9 BC succeeded in achieving its first goal, and a win at the ACC tournament in Durham, N.C. would have guaranteed an invitation to the NCAAs. The Eagles fell short with their 5-2 loss in the first round against No. 6 Syracuse University, however, but got the invite to the NCAA tournament on Sunday.

Going into the game, it appeared BC would have the upper hand. The Eagles had the higher seed in the tournament and had previously beaten the Orange in September, 3-2. Still, all seven competing teams were nationally ranked, so it was anyone’s tournament. Highly motivated, Syracuse came out of the gate strong. Emma Russell, the team’s leading scorer, scored 27 seconds into the game to give the Orange a 1-0 lead.

BC fought back from this deficit and pressed the Syracuse defense. The pressure paid off when the Eagles were awarded three penalty corners. On the third corner, Eryn McCoy sent a bouncing drive into the circle to confuse the goalie and allow Kelcie Hromisin to tip in a tying goal.

The momentum quickly turned again. The Orange stormed downfield and through the BC defense. Syracuse ripped shot after shot while BC’s Leah Settipane stopped each one from reaching the back of the net. The Eagles were able to obtain possession and challenge the Syracuse defense. BC received a string of three offensive penalty corners. The players tried to be deceptive with fancy shots and passes, but came up empty-handed.

With 10 minutes left in the first half, Syracuse turned up the energy and forced its way into the BC circle. The Orange dictated the tempo of the game with its ball movement. With two minutes remaining, Settipane stepped out of the goal in order to clear a ball. Russell rebounded the ball and got an open shot on goal to put her team up, 2-1. The Eagles made a final run and were dangerously close to scoring, but were unable to do so before the half ended.

When the second half started, it appeared Syracuse was going to dominate once again. The offense stormed down the field immediately, but a card on Syracuse’s Kati Nearhouse gave BC an early one-player advantage. Five seconds after Nearhouse stepped off the field, the Eagles tied the game 2-2 when Hromisin scored her second goal of the game off a rebound.

For the rest of the frame, Syracuse continued to dominate with the occasional BC breakaway, and with 10 minutes left in the game, Syracuse broke away. A reverse chip from Russell flew past Settipane making it 3-2. The Eagles did not give up and applied high pressure on the offensive end. Syracuse struggled to clear the ball and with continued BC pressure, Lamb called a timeout with six minutes remaining.

Lamb decided to pull the goalie, a risky decision with so much time on the clock.

With an extra field player in place, BC pushed through the Orange defense. Syracuse was able to recover a rebound and send the ball downfield. Russell flew past the BC defenders once again and scored her fourth goal of the night on an empty net.

The BC goal remained empty. The BC offense continued to shoot. And the BC defense let Russell into the circle once again.

With four seconds left in the game Russell passed the ball to Nearhouse, who tapped it into the empty goal to give the Orange a 5-2 win.

Featured Image by Emily Fahey / Heights Editor