Unlike the previous two seasons, Boston College men’s soccer failed to sneak into the NCAA Tournament this past fall. After winning the first two matches of the year, the Eagles endured a pair of four-game losing streaks over the course of a 36-day stretch, all but crushing their postseason hopes practically a month before the regular season finale.
Eventually, BC strung together a trio of victories, including its only conference win of the year—a 2-1 overtime victory against Syracuse—and a thrilling upset over a superior Connecticut team. Yet the Eagles didn’t stand a chance versus the ACC’s best. In fact, they posted a putrid 0-6-1 record against ranked conference opponents—what’s even worse, is that they were outscored, 17-1, in those matches. Shutout after shutout, BC’s offense, led by junior Simon Enstrom, came up empty.
The Eagles only averaged 1.29 goals per game—the fourth fewest in the league. It also didn’t help that they conceded about 1.76 on match-to-match basis, more than any other squad in the ACC.
Despite posting the worst margin of defeat in ACC play, the Eagles (6-10-1, 1-6-1 Atlantic Coast) entered the conference tournament as the 11th-seed. Almost expectedly, their season ended with a 4-0 blowout at the hands of No. 16 Virginia—one of nine ACC teams to make the NCAA Tournament. BC would like to be one of those this coming fall, but in order to do so, it’ll have to hold its own against yet another quality group of opponents. On Friday, head coach Ed Kelly revealed the Eagles’ complete 2018 schedule, a two-and-a-half month slate of games that features seven 2017 NCAA Tournament teams.
2018 Schedule (Note: italicization denotes ACC competition):
Aug. 12 Vs. Massachusetts (Newton, Mass.) *Exhibition
—> Just like last summer, BC will kick off the 2018 campaign with a pair of preseason scrimmages—the first of which will be against UMass. It’s been nearly 11 years since the in-state rivals met. The defending A-10 champion Minutemen are coming off a 15-win season that culminated in a first-round NCAA Tournament loss to Colgate.
Aug. 18 Vs. Colgate (Newton, Mass.) *Exhibition
Aug. 24 at Quinnipiac (Hamden, Conn.) *Regular Season Opener
Aug. 27 Vs. Boston University (Newton, Mass.) *Home Opener
—> For the fourth-consecutive year, the Eagles will open their regular season with back-to-back non-conference matches against Quinnipiac and BU. Neither have beaten BC in the past five years, although the Terriers have come within one goal on three separate occasions. The inter-city matchup always seems to get the Eagles’ offense going: BC has scored three or more goals against BU each of the past four seasons.
Aug. 31 at Providence (Providence, R.I.)
Sept. 7 Vs. Clemson (Newton, Mass.) *ACC Opener
—> In 2017, No. 10 Clemson pulled out a 1-0 win over BC at home, blanking the Eagles for the fourth season in a row. Not only has BC turned in four-straight clean sheets against the Tigers, but it’s also going on its ninth year without a victory over the two-time NCAA champions. This match will mark the start of a season-long three-game homestand for Kelly and Co.
Sept. 11 Vs. Holy Cross (Newton, Mass.)
Sept. 14 Vs. Louisville (Newton, Mass.)
—> Louisville is the first of three 2017 Elite Eight teams that the Eagles will have to play this fall. Historically, BC has given the Cardinals a run for their money, forcing overtime in each of the teams’ first three matchups. Not last year, though: Led by Tate Schmitt, Louisville poured on four second-half goals to rout the Eagles and scoop up three more points in the ACC standings.
Sept. 18 at Connecticut (Storrs, Conn.)
—> UConn is starting to become a regular fixture in BC’s schedule. The two sides will face off for the third-consecutive year this September. There’s no doubt that the last meeting left a bad taste in the Huskies’ mouth. The Eagles strung together two goals in the final 10 minutes of regulation to force extra time. Then, in the second overtime period, Callum Johnson one-timed a game-winner to extend BC’s three-match winning streak.
Sept. 21 at Duke (Durham, N.C.)
—> The Eagles have only played Duke twice in the past four years, trading one-goal results in the process. There’s no guarantee this year’s matchup will be quite as close. The Blue Devils are fresh off one of the team’s best seasons of the decade. Duke rode a 13-win season to the sixth overall seed in the NCAA Tournament and, ultimately, a Sweet Sixteen appearance.
Sept. 28 at Notre Dame (South Bend, Ind.)
—> Meeting two seasons in a row is something of a rarity for these teams, despite the documented rivalry. Prior to this season, BC and Notre Dame have only suited up against each other in back-to-back seasons once this entire decade. Last season, the Eagles’ lone goal against ranked ACC opponents came against the Fighting Irish, but the scoring play was merely a dent in Notre Dame’s 3-1 victory.
Oct. 5 Vs. North Carolina State (Newton, Mass.)
—> BC didn’t have many bright moments in ACC play this past season, but their scoreless draw in Raleigh, N.C. was certainly one of them. Eight minutes in, goalkeeper Antonio Chavez Borrelli was shown a red card for handling the ball outside the penalty area. Sophomore Jack Bacon entered the game and recorded two saves, including a diving stop in the final stages of double overtime. The Eagles’ 10-man effort secured the last of their four league points.
Oct. 9 Vs. Harvard (Newton, Mass.)
Oct. 12 at Wake Forest (Winston-Salem, N.C.)
—> The home stretch of the season doesn’t get any easier for BC. Starting with last year’s No. 1 overall seed—Wake Forest—the Eagles will have to play back-to-back 2017 Elite Eight teams before ending the year on a two-game road trip. Last season, the Demon Deacons spoiled BC’s Senior Day, scoring four goals in the final 46 minutes of the match.
Oct. 19 Vs. North Carolina (Newton, Mass.)
—> Thanks to Zeiko Lewis, the Eagles still have bragging rights over UNC. The 5-foot-6 speedster logged the only goal of the teams’ ACC Quarterfinal matchup in 2016, vaulting BC to within one game of the conference championship. Of course, earlier that season, the Tar Heels handed the Eagles their worst loss of the year—a 5-0 blowout.
Oct. 23 at Rhode Island (Kingston, R.I.)
Oct. 26 at Syracuse (Syracuse, N.Y.)
—> BC will wrap up its ACC slate and regular season with a Syracuse matchup for the second time in four years. If it wasn’t for Johnson’s overtime heroics against the Orange last October, the Eagles would have ended the year with zero ACC wins. But the result hardly made up for BC’s 1-0 loss to Syracuse in the 2015 Elite Eight—a defeat that stopped the Eagles’ short of their first-ever College Cup appearance.
First Round: Oct. 31 Vs. TBD (TBD, On-Campus Site)
Second Round: Nov. 4 Vs. TBD (TBD, On-Campus Site)
Third Round: Nov. 7 Vs. TBD (TBD, On-Campus Site)
Final: Nov. 11 Vs. TBD (Cary, N.C.)
Featured Image by Lizzy Barrett / Heights Senior Staff