After what should have been a season-defining win against North Carolina, Boston College field hockey has struggled to find its footing. After the win against the Tar Heels, BC went on to decisively beat Northeastern 8-1 before falling in consecutive overtime losses to Virginia and UMass Amherst. The No. 15 Eagles needed another decisive win to cement themselves as a team to fear in the Atlantic Coast Conference. An opportunity presented itself on Friday, when BC traveled to Durham, N.C., to take on Duke. But the Eagles found themselves on the wrong side of the scoring column, suffering a 6-2 loss to the Duke Blue Devils.
No. 3 Duke (9-1, 3-0 Atlantic Coast) dominated the game from the very beginning, scoring its first goal at 2:53 off of a fast break from Ainsley Gill. The Blue Devils were then held scoreless by a tough BC (4-6, 1-3 ACC) defense until almost midway through the first half, when Duke scored its second goal off of a penalty corner shot. At 24:51, Heather Morris extended the Duke lead to 3-0 off of another corner shot. The Blue Devils squeaked a fourth goal in past BC goalie Audra Hampsch before the buzzer sounded. The Eagles were held scoreless throughout the half, despite accumulating multiple early corner opportunities.
The second half began much like the first, with Duke pressuring both defensively and offensively, and BC struggling to control its own penalties. Eventually, the Blue Devils scored their fifth goal of the game—Morris found the back of the net again on a flick shot off of another Duke penalty corner.
The Eagles finally broke through at 57:07, when Emily McCoy controlled a long pass up the field and carried the ball all the way through the midfield and into the Eagles’ offensive zone. The Duke goalkeeper went to clear her shot, but misplayed the clear, and Emily’s sister, Eryn McCoy, spun around the goalkeeper and found the back of the goal to put BC on the board.
BC continued to press against the Blue Devils, but Duke scored its sixth goal of the game on another penalty corner—its fourth converted corner. With just under a minute left in the game, Lucy Lytle scored to bring the Duke lead down to four, but there was simply not enough time left for the Eagles to make a meaningful push, and the buzzer sounded on a 6-2 BC loss.
The game was relatively close statistically, with both goalies making three saves and Duke with a slight edge, 16-13, in shots. But the difference came down to converting penalty corners. The Blue Devils had seven penalty corners, while the Eagles only had three, and Duke converted four of those seven, three of which came in the first half. Once BC settled down and controlled its penalties, the game was much less one-sided.
After the game, head coach Kelly Doton spoke to BCEagles.com about her assessment of her girls’ performance.
“Good teams are consistent, and that’s what Duke was today,” Doton said. “They put us on our heels early. We made too many mistakes on both sides of the ball, and they made us pay.”
While an ACC win, especially against the highly ranked Blue Devils, would have been another highlight for the season, Doton stressed that the Eagles will not be thinking about what could have been. With another tough ACC game against No. 7 Louisville and a game against Indiana, BC can only afford to look forward.
Featured Image by Lucius Xuan / Heights Staff