Eagles’ Offensive Struggles Continue in Loss to Harvard

With just under five minutes to play in Boston College field hockey’s game against Harvard, the Eagles won a penalty corner. Trailing by a goal, this was the perfect opportunity for BC to knot the game up and gain some momentum. Frederique Haverhals took the corner and, seconds later, the ball fell perfectly to Eva van der Mierop. The freshman lined up a game-tying shot, but instead saw her effort blocked wide by scrambling Crimson defenders. Four minutes and three more wasted penalty corners later, the game was over, with the Eagles still scoreless.

For the third-straight game against a ranked opponent, BC had more shots and more penalty corners than its opponents. For the third-straight game, the story was the same. Despite all the chances, the Eagles found it difficult to score, putting just one of their seven shots on target and converting none of their penalty corners. And for the third-straight game, BC lost a one-goal decision to a ranked opponent, dropping a 1-0 decision to No. 6 Harvard.

The game started evenly, with both sides intent on establishing a rhythm. There were no chances until the ninth minute, when Harvard (14-1, 5-0 Ivy League) won the first penalty corner of the game. Off a layoff, Bente van Vlijmen, the Crimson’s second leading scorer, found space for a shot, but an Eagles (9-8, 2-4 Atlantic Coast) defender pushed it wide.

Four minutes later, BC won a penalty corner of its own. Haverhals took the corner, and the ball bounced around the box and eventually found the stick of Carly Kauffman. Her attempt was blocked, and the rebound fell to Brigid Wood. The junior midfielder couldn’t get her shot on target, sliding it wide of the goal.

Just minutes later, Elizabeth Dennehy had the Eagles’ best chance of the first half, as she found room on the right side of the circle to get a shot away, but had her high effort tipped wide by the onrushing Harvard goalkeeper, Ellie Shabbo.

BC had three more corner opportunities before the end of the half, but wasn’t able to convert a single one, as Nell Webber and Fusine Govaert had attempts stopped by Harvard defenders and Haverhals pushed a shot wide of the cage. As the missed chances began to mount for the Eagles, the Crimson added to BC’s misery right before the end of the half.

Tessel Huibregtsen played a long outlet pass to Kathleen Young with just seconds left in the first half, and Young was able to win a penalty corner with no time remaining. Casey Allen inserted the ball, and the initial attempt from Huibregtsen ricocheted out to the right side of the goal. Young corralled the rebound and got a shot away from a tight angle that snuck under Jonna Kennedy’s legs, giving Harvard the lead with no time remaining.

Perhaps energized by the goal at the end of the first half, the Crimson had the upper hand immediately in the second half. Young forced a save out of Kennedy four minutes after the restart, then slapped a shot narrowly outside the post just two minutes later.

But after those two initial chances, the game settled down once again. The teams combined for just one shot over the next 20 minutes, a shot from Olivia Hoover that Kennedy saved. And when the chances did come for the Eagles in the last five minutes of the game, they weren’t able to capitalize. Harvard’s defense, which has now allowed just three goals in the past six games, was outstanding all game long.

The loss, BC’s third in a row, snapped a 13-game win streak against Harvard. Perhaps most concerning is the state of the offense, which has now scored just two goals in the past three games and has failed to convert on any of its last 19 penalty corners. With the conference tournament looming and a berth in the NCAA tournament potentially at stake, the Eagles will need to find some solutions to their scoring woes, or risk missing out on postseason play for the second season in a row.

Featured Image by Jonathan Ye / For The Heights

About Peter Kim 79 Articles
Peter Kim is the assistant sports editor of The Heights. He’s from Seattle, will die happy if the Mariners make the playoffs once in his lifetime, and still refuses to watch any of Super Bowl XLIV. Follow him on twitter @PeterKim_4