Now a second-year starter, Boston College field hockey’s Sarah Dwyer is quickly making a name for herself as one of the best goalkeepers in the ACC. Last season, the West Long Branch, N.J. native posted a 1.87 goals against average and .685 save percentage. To put that in perspective, if she had replicated those same numbers this fall, she would currently rank last in the conference in goals against average and third-to-last in save percentage. Instead, the junior has turned in the best month of her career.
Dwyer, who became the program’s first player to ever receive ACC Defensive Player of the Week honors twice in one season, entered Sunday’s game at Fairfield having already recorded three shutouts on the year. Not only that, but the upperclassman netminder was only conceding .97 goals per game, the second-fewest in the ACC. Her .758 save percentage—.073 points higher than last season’s mark—is also good for fourth in the league.
Coming into the weekend, Dwyer had only allowed one goal over the course of the past 10 days of action. She extended that hot streak, as well as her team’s, against the Stags, recording a 3-0 shutout victory—BC’s fourth-straight win.
When all was said and done, the No. 9 Eagles (7-3, 2-0 Atlantic Coast) outshout Fairfield (9-2, 1-0 Metro Atlantic Athletic), 15-4. But, in the first half, the teams’ offensive output was relatively even. In fact, the Stags created the first legitimate scoring chance of the afternoon.
Thanks to an array of passes downfield, Fairfield was able to create space in the circle for Luzi Persiehl. The freshman whipped a shot on cage, but Dwyer promptly kicked it away, jumpstarting what was yet another dominant goaltending performance. Amid the opening five minutes of play, the Stags frequently infiltrated the BC half, but had a difficult time materializing offense once they reached the circle.
Eventually, the Eagles’ defense buckled down and the momentum shifted. Unfortunately for Fairfield head coach Jackie Kane, the Stags never got it back. BC upped the ante on offense, applying direct pressure inside Fairfield territory. It was only a matter of time before the Stags cracked.
With less than eight minutes remaining in the first half, the Eagles were awarded a corner. Brigid Wood inserted the ball toward the top of the circle for Frederique Haverhals. Immediately, the senior relayed a pass to Fusine Govaert. Positioned on the left side of the circle, the underclassman midfielder flung a shot on net. Initially, Stags goalie Zoe Rosen made the save, sliding to bat the ball up in the air with her leg guard. The problem was, Brooke Matherson was there for the rebound—the graduate student swung at the ball mid-air, hitting a grounder into the back of what was a practically wide-open cage.
BC carried its one-goal lead into intermission and came out of the break looking like the far superior team. From start to finish, the Eagles controlled the narrative in the second half, outshooting their New England counterpart, 9-0.
Matherson picked up right where she left off at the end of the first period, scoring her second goal of the game and sixth of the season less than two minutes into the back half of play. Trailing to the right, Elizabeth Dennehy dumped the ball off to Elizabeth Warner inside the circle. Guarded heavily, the sophomore forward hooked a pass around her defender to Matherson near the doorstep of the net. With only the goalie to beat, the graduate student pulled the ball back and flicked a shot past Rosen.
Close to 16 minutes later, Emily Buttinger put the game away. After receiving a cross right in front of the cage, Warner attempted to squeeze a shot by a sprawled-out Rosen. The sophomore goalkeeper made the stop, only to watch Buttinger sneak past her defender and poke the rebound into the back of the cage for the Eagles’ third and final goal.
BC has now outscored its last four opponents, 13-1. Before that, its previous five games were all decided by one goal. At times this season, both the Eagles’ offense and defense have played to their highest potential. During this four-game win streak, though, head coach Kelly Doton’s team has pieced two and two together and, as a result, has been practically unbeatable.
Featured Image by Sam Zhai / Heights Staff