Raindrops smack the turf as the Eagles rotate passes around the 8 meter arc with defenders in position to deny inside access. Freshman Kaileen Hart gets the ball and dodges inside toward the goal ready to shoot. Whistle. A shooting space foul is called against Harvard University. Hart gets a free position at the top of the arc. She does not charge toward the goal to shoot. She cuts left to draw defenders. Kenzie Kent pushes her way into the arc and flies toward the goal. Hart passes through a mass of defenders to find Kent, who one-times it into the twine to put a tally on the board.
All afternoon the No. 4 Boston College (12-2, 4-2 ACC) team had to find loopholes and weave their way through Harvard (5-5, 3-1 Ivy) defenders in order to get a clean look at goalkeeper Kelly Weis. Without leading scorer Mikaela Rix, who is out recovering from a head injury she suffered against Duke, it was certain that each Eagle needed to step it up on the offensive end. The Eagles worked tirelessly on offense, pulling off a strong 19-13 win with the help of nine different goal scorers.
At first the team struggled to get inside the 8 meter arc. Tess Chandler led the way inside and bounced one past Weis. Less than five minutes into the game, BC held a 3-0 lead. The Crimson’s Marisa Romeo answered seconds later as she got past BC’s Zoe Ochoa.
Harvard scored three consecutive goals to knot the game at three. Chandler then took matters into her own hands, firing one past Weis’s head to complete a hat trick only eight and half minutes into the game. Ten minutes later the team was up 7-3 as the defenders continued to lock the Crimson out of the arc. They only let one slip through the cracks allowing Harvard to make it 7-4 at the half. With a tight score, BC needed to make adjustments to deny the Crimson a chance for a comeback.
The Eagles are notorious for slow starts at the beginning of halves. Coach Acacia Walker challenged them to come out aggressively and finish the game. “I told the team it was 0-0 and it was another test of the first 10 minutes of the second half,” Walker said. “We are really trying to work hard on coming out strong so we told them to not let up and to think of the game as a fresh start.”
BC pulled itself together and pulled away. Covie Stanwick flew one past Weis 30 seconds into the half and less than a minute later Sarah Mannelly did the same, making it a 9-5 game. The Eagles continued to surround the Crimson goal and fired shots at Weis while limiting their opponents’ access to Ochoa’s net.
Fouls allowed BC to maintain the ball on the offensive end. On her way downfield, Mannelly was fouled and given a free possession. She dodged defenders and drew Weis out of the crease. Mannelly wrapped around Weis and ripped one into the empty net with 22 minutes remaining. With continued offensive pressure, BC led 16-8 midway through the second half.
Harvard attempted to make a comeback with the help of star-player Romeo, who scored a total of six goals. By using rapid passing around the arc, the Crimson found entryways to the goal and shot into open space behind Ochoa. BC remained composed for the final five minutes and answered each time, successfully pulling off a 19-13 win on its home turf.
Stanwick and Mannelly each completed a hat trick, while Chandler tallied four goals. It was clear the three of them, along with the rest of the team, fought hard despite Rix’s absence as she continues to recover.
Walker commended the three players for the work they put into the game. “They are all playing pretty dominantly right now,” Walker said. “We asked them to step up so that they could make an immediate impact in today’s game so it would transcend down to the rest of the group and they did a good job with that so I’m proud of them.”
The final horn sounds as the referee signals the end of the game. The Crimson exit quickly while the Eagles linger on the field, hanging onto the feeling of another hard fought win.
Featured Image by Amalie Trieu / Heights Staff