Boston College women’s soccer faced a tough matchup when it traveled down to Charlottesville, Va., for a contest against the No. 8 University of Virginia this weekend. The Cavaliers entered the game having won three of their previous four contests, with their one loss to powerhouse Duke. The Eagles entered the game having lost their previous three games. The momentum did not change for the two teams, as UVA fought to a 3-2 victory over BC.
BC (10-7-1, 2-6 Atlantic Coast) started out strong, recording the first shot of the game barely a minute into play when Gaby Carreiro tested UVA’s goalkeeper, Morgan Stearns. The shot could not pass Stearns, who made the first save of the game to prevent BC from taking an early lead. She was less lucky just a couple of minutes later. Barely five minutes into the game, McKenzie Meehan received the ball in the center of the box, just 8 yards out from the goal. She fired a shot past Stearns, who was unable to collect the ball, giving BC an early 1-0 lead. It appeared that Meehan injured herself on the play, as she left the game following her goal and did not return.
Although they faced an early deficit, the Cavaliers (12-3-2, 5-2-2 Atlantic Coast) did not slump. They would take the next five shots of the game, with one opportunity blocked, one out wide and one out high. The other two shots, including a header off a cross, were safely collected by Alexis Bryant.
Hayley Dowd managed another opportunity for the Eagles when she ripped a shot on Stearns in the 13th minute, but the ball sailed out wide. After her shot, both goalkeepers had a couple of minutes without any real tests. UVA would break the momentary stalemate with a corner kick and another couple of shots, although none of the opportunities were on frame.
This pattern continued throughout the remainder of the first half. Each team managed to create at least a couple of opportunities, but none of them amounted to anything. The biggest moment in the half came when Bryant faced a penalty kick from the Cavaliers in the 33rd minute. Alexis Shaffer lined up against Bryant, looking to equalize the score for UVA. She just could not place the ball correctly, as Bryant recorded another save to preserve the Eagles’ lead.
The lead wouldn’t last very long for BC as the second half began. Just six minutes into the second half, UVA was awarded another penalty kick. Once again, Shaffer lined up against Bryant. This time, however, Bryant couldn’t make the save. Shaffer’s shot found the back of the net, tying the game at 1-1 for UVA.
Shaffer’s goal opened the floodgates for the Cavaliers. UVA continued to test Bryant and her defense, recording shots and corner kicks in the minutes immediately following the goal. With all of their opportunities, it didn’t take long for the Cavaliers to take the lead. Just five minutes after Shaffer’s goal, Jasmine Wright received the ball almost 20 yards out. She fired a shot off low and to the right. Bryant lunged for the ball, but just couldn’t get her fingers on it. Barely 10 minutes into the second half, UVA rode a wave of momentum and took a 2-1 lead.
Despite the momentum, the Cavaliers seemed to stall for a while after the second goal. Lauren Berman managed a shot for the Eagles, but it sailed wide of the goal. UVA recorded several shots, but none of them proved too difficult for Bryant and her defense until the 74th minute.
The ball hit off BC and went out of bounds along the goal line, giving the Cavaliers a corner kick. Montana Sutton lined up to take the kick. Her ball was perfectly placed for teammate Kristen McNabb. McNabb beat her defender and got her head on the ball, sending it past Bryant into the back of the net and increasing UVA’s lead to 3-1.
Facing a multi-goal deficit late in the game, BC didn’t give up. The Eagles continued to test the Cavaliers, ultimately scoring one more goal.
With just about 10 minutes remaining in the game, UVA’s Tina Iordanou committed a hard foul just outside the box, earning a yellow card in the process. Carreiro lined up to take the free kick. She placed the ball perfectly, sending it past Stearns into the back of the net. There wasn’t much to celebrate, however, as UVA still held a 3-2 lead. The Cavaliers preserved this lead for the remainder of the game to finish with the hard-fought victory.
UVA outmuscled BC in almost every single category of play. The Cavaliers recorded 22 total shots, with eight on frame, compared to BC’s seven total shots, five of which were on goal. And the Cavaliers earned 13 corner kicks, while the Eagles only managed three. Bryant finished her day with five saves, all of which came in the first half. Stearns recorded three saves throughout the game.
With the loss, BC is riding a four-game losing streak at the very end of the season. The Eagles must find a way to gain momentum and turn things around heading into postseason play.
Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor