Eagles Earn First Win In ACC Tournament Against Wake Forest

Kelly Doton, a Wake Forest Hall of Famer in her first year as head coach of Boston College field hockey (12-7, 1-5 ACC), surely knew that history didn’t favor her new team. The Eagles had never won a game in the conference tournament since they joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2005. But, in the heat of the Virginia sun, her team disregarded the past and edged out a 4-3 double-overtime victory against No. 6 Wake Forest (15-2, 4-2 ACC). Despite sitting in the basement of the ACC, No. 11 BC will now advance to the semifinals against No. 2 North Carolina.

Wake Forest started hard and fast, as Jule Grashoff split the defense and knocked one past the keeper at the near post in the first 45 seconds. But the lead was short-lived, as the Eagles countered with early and relatively frantic possessions, creating a couple of chances but no clear shots. Eryn McCoy scored off a penalty corner in the fourth minute on a shot from just inside the 23-meter area that deflected up and into the net.

After such a fast start, the game began to develop a rhythm. The teams traded shots and possession as the adrenaline of the first five minutes dropped off. McCoy had another big chance in the 18th minute, though a stick save by Wake’s goalkeeper Valerie Dahmen forced the ball wide. She made another immense save just minutes later, deflecting a face-high shot to the left from five yards out. By then the Eagles were piling on the pressure and holding the majority of the possession. Successive corners around the 25th minute nearly saw BC take a lead, but great defense by the Demon Deacons prevented any goals.

Immediately after, Wake struck hard on the counter, nearly knocking in a one on one, but BC goalie Leah Settipane got just enough of it to see it roll past the post. Wake began to get back in the game in the last 10 minutes, and struck hard with a beautiful goal in the 29th minute from Kali Vicars, who spun and danced around three defenders and rocketed the ball into the far corner. It was quality over quantity, as BC trailed entering the half despite outshooting Wake 8-4.

BC dominated possession coming out for the second half. Chance after chance eventually led to penalty-corner goal by Frederique Haverhals. The few times Wake did get chances on the counter, Settipane came out of the goal for some great, aggressive saves, proving to be a one-woman wall against the entire Deacon offense.

Similar to the first half, Wake turned it around after 20 minutes, once again taking back possession after conceding it for much of the half. The Eagles’ defense did its best to just absorb the pressure, trying to catch Wake on the counter where it can. But the approach of “bend but don’t break” eventually failed, as a centering cross by Grashoff from near post found Krysta Wangerin who knocked it in from point blank. Despite the lead, Wake did not let up, continuing to pressure Settipane into saves and clearances.

BC was left with no choice but to attack all-out, which paid off almost immediately when a Wake defender took out a BC attacker and the referees called a penalty stroke. Emily McCoy’s shot found its way into the goal off Dahmen’s glove, and the Eagles had life again.

As the game went into overtime, the heat had clearly exhausted both teams. The action was back and forth, with the most of the action taking place in the middle of the field. Both goalkeepers who truly came out to play had no issue parrying the shots. Just four minutes into the second overtime Wake was awarded a penalty stroke. It was a chance to end the game, but Jess Newak sent the ball wide left and play continued. It proved a crucial miss, as minutes later, in the waning moments of the second overtime, BC struck. Amid a scrum in front of the net, deflected shot fell right into the lap of Kelcie Hromisin, who sent in her eighth and most important goal of the year.

Featured Image by Lucius Xuan / Heights Staff