All year, Boston College field hockey has thrived in tight situations. Over the course of the first month of the season, the Eagles boasted a 3-0 record in one-goal games. Not to mention that two of those wins came in double overtime against top-20 teams. Unfortunately for head coach Kelly Doton, her team couldn’t pull out a third extra-time victory on Saturday. After 78 and a half minutes of play, North Carolina edged BC, 2-1.
It didn’t take long for the No. 7 Tar Heels (5-2, 1-1 Atlantic Coast) to get on the board. About three minutes into the match, Eva Smolenaars carried the ball into the circle and whipped up a shot. The ball went through the legs of BC goaltender Sarah Dwyer and into the back of the cage, giving Smolenaars her first collegiate goal and UNC the lead.
As a whole, the Tar Heels dominated the opening half of play. Time and time again, UNC found itself knocking on the door, outshooting the No. 10 Eagles (5-2, 0-2) 11-1. Yet the Tar Heels couldn’t add to their scoring total. And that’s in large part due to the defensive presence of junior Alyssa Olenick. The New Jersey native came up with two defensive saves in the period, nearly doubling her career total.
It was more of the same in the second half. Despite an array of chances, UNC continued to come up empty on the offensive end. Thanks to Dwyer’s career-high nine saves, BC was still alive late in the game. That’s when the Eagles made their move. With less than 10 minutes to go, Ymke Rose Gote received a feed at midfield and turned on the gas. The junior stormed down the field, encroached the circle, and fired a shot into the right corner of the cage to tie the game at one.
Dwyer and the defense held on for the next eight and half minutes, sending the game to overtime. But they wouldn’t last much longer.
In the 79th minute, UNC scored on a corner—the Tar Heels’ third of overtime and 11th on the day. Following the insertion, Ashley Hoffman and Eva van’t Hoog executed a perfect give-and-go. Hoffman located van’t Hoog, who immediately passed the ball back to her teammate. Now with space to shoot, Hoffman ripped the game-winning shot past Dwyer.
All said and done, the Tar Heels recorded 22 shots—13 more than the Eagles.
After starting the season 4-0 for the first time under Doton, BC has dropped two of its last three games. Both losses have come in conference play. The Eagles have shown that they can knock off highly-touted programs this season. Now they need to do it in the ACC.
Featured Image by Lizzy Barrett / Heights Editor