Previewing 2018 Women’s Soccer: Syracuse

boston college women's soccer

For the first time in 11 days, Boston College women’s soccer will return to the pitch, hosting Syracuse in what has turned out to be it’s Atlantic Coast opener. After rainouts forced the cancellation of a midweek game against Harvard and a Friday night road game against Wake Forest, the Eagles return with a spotless record of 8-0 and a clean slate in ACC play, hoping to improve on last year’s conference mark of 4-5-1.

Who is BC playing?
Syracuse

When is BC playing?
Thursday, Sept. 20, 7 p.m.

Where is BC playing?
Newton Campus Soccer Field, Newton, Mass.

How to Watch:
The game will be available to stream on ACC Network Extra.

By the Numbers:

BC:

1) Set pieces have been absolutely crucial to the Eagles this year, as a remarkable 11 of BC’s 21 goals on the year have come off them. Corner kicks have been the most effective, as BC is converting over 14 percent of the chances its gets.

2) The Eagles are one of just two undefeated teams remaining in the conference, with the other being Virginia—who boasts a No. 4 overall ranking. Firmly in the receiving votes section of the latest AP Poll, BC will quickly have an opportunity to make up ground. After Syracuse, the Eagles take on No. 7 Florida State, also at home.

3) Only the aforementioned Seminoles boast a better defense on the season, in terms of goals against average. BC is posting a remarkable 0.38 mark, just 16 points shy of FSU. Head coach Alison Foley’s preseason remark about the defense being much better this year has proven to be far from an exaggeration.

Syracuse:

1) Unlike the team it’s squaring up against, the Orange has had a tough time finding much offense at all. Through nine games, Syracuse has found the back of the net just six times, as four of its six losses have been shutouts.

2) After a decent 3-2 start—one that featured wins over Northeastern and Connecticut, Syracuse has slumped—in large part due to the quality of competition. No. 11 Penn State and No. 13 Duke combined to rout the Orange 8-0, bookending its current four-game skid.

3) Kate Hostage has been the lone bright spot up top, scoring four goals in seven games. She’s the only player to score for the Orange in the last four games, going all the way back to the Sept. 2 loss to Penn State.

Last Meeting:

BC took a 2-1 overtime thriller in the 2016 regular season finale, earning a Senior Day win in dramatic fashion. After outshooting the visiting Orange, 22-7, in regulation, the Eagles still found themselves in a 1-1 draw. It was then-freshman Olivia Vaughn that came up huge, scoring her fifth goal of the season in the 94th minute off an assist from Gaby Carreiro. It was Carreiro’s second assist of the game, as she also connected with Andrea O’Brien in the 16th minute.

BC wins if…

It continues to play stifling defense. Syracuse, by most statistics, is one of the weakest offensive teams that the Eagles will have played thus far. The Orange is stuck in a rut, with Hostage being the only player that’s been able to break through recently. Four games and over 300 minutes of game action have elapsed since a different player scored for Syracuse, which bodes well for BC’s back line. Additionally, the Orange is conceding nearly two goals per game, a stat that the likes of Carreiro, Vaughn, and Sam Coffey in the midfield could exploit.

BC loses if…

It fails to create chances outside of set pieces and settles for a disappointing draw. Every game matters in the ACC, both for postseason conference tournament seeding and beyond. By all measures, the Eagles should beat Syracuse, but it’s always up in the air in terms of conference play. Syracuse has played twice since the Eagles last suited up, so it’ll be interesting to see if BC comes out slow and digs a hole it can’t recover from.

Featured Image by Maggie DePatri / Heights Staff

Bradley Smart
About Bradley Smart 178 Articles
Bradley is the associate sports editor for The Heights. He believes that America does truly run on Dunkin, March is the best month, baseball teams should always wear stirrups, and being down 3-1, in anything, is never cause for concern. You can follow him on Twitter @bradleysmart15.