Even though Boston College field hockey outshout Wake Forest, 7-1, in the first half of Friday night’s ACC opener, head coach Kelly Doton knew that something was off.
“I didn’t say anything at halftime,” the third-year Eagles coach remarked. “I said, ‘I don’t have to say anything at halftime, you guys know the one thing that’s missing. Our heart and desire is missing right now.’”
It took a while for the message to set in. BC conceded two successive goals, separated by just two minutes and 12 seconds, in the early portion of the second period. Immediately following the second scoring play, Doton called a timeout.
The Demon Deacons were energized, jumping up and down in cheers, as they jogged to the sideline, even clapping while head coach Jennifer Averill talked out the game plan for the remaining 25 or so minutes of regulation. BC’s huddle, on the other hand, was silent.
Just like at halftime, Doton emphasized ball pressure, intensity, and, above all else, maximum effort. This time, her words translated into results, and the Eagles logged back-to-back goals in the final 16 minutes of the period to prolong the game. Unlike last weekend’s ACC/Big Ten Cup matchup against No. 9 Northwestern, BC prevailed in double overtime. Frederique Haverhals corralled a rebound and slotted the game-winner, securing a 4-3 victory—the Eagles’ first in ACC play in 686 days.
A total of five goals were scored between the two teams over the course of the second half and overtime. In the first period, though, shots came at a premium. Neither side could really maintain possession in the early going. The high turnover rate soon led to the game’s first goal.
About six minutes into the contest, Ymke Rose Gote intercepted a Wake Forest (1-4, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) pass near the center line and sprinted toward the 25, ultimately dishing the ball out to a streaking Jaime Natale. The sophomore encroached the circle and whipped a pass to Lucy Lytle, who promptly chipped a shot over Demon Deacons goalkeeper Cat O’Connor. Not only did the scoring play mark No. 13 BC’s (2-2, 1-0) first strike of the game, but it also signified Lytle’s first goal of the season.
On paper, the Eagles were controlling the game. Through 23 minutes of play, they had already recorded five shots to Wake Forest’s none. That’s not to say that the Demon Deacons weren’t threatening—actually, they had a number of legitimate chances inside BC territory, but failed to get off a shot, time and time again. Eventually, the persistence paid off.
With under 11 minutes to play in the first half, Veerle Bos made the most of a penalty corner, flicking the insert to Megan Anderson at the top of the circle. The midfielder stopped the pass with her stick, setting up Jule Grasshoff for a wide-open shot on cage. Grasshoff flung the ball into the top-left corner of the net past the outstretched stick of BC goalie Sarah Dwyer.
Both sides took a couple jabs at the scoreboard in the final stages of the period, but the game remained tied at one goal apiece as the teams entered intermission. Having logged just one corner and one shot, it was only a matter of time before the Wake Forest offense started to click—nine minutes and one second to be exact.
Thanks to a Elizabeth Dennehy green card, the Demon Deacons had a one-man advantage. Elisha Evans coasted down the right side of the field, beating a pair of BC defenders in the process. After cutting inside the circle, she dialed up a pass for Eleanor Winants, who poked the ball by an out-of-position Dwyer into the back of the cage. A bit more than two minutes later, Wake Forest scored off another corner.
Alexis Grippo inserted the ball in the direction of Megan Anderson. A stick stop created space for Anne van Hoof to notch her first goal of the season and provide the Demon Deacons with a two-score lead. Seconds passed before Doton signaled for a timeout.
“Ball pressure, intensity, and hard work is everything for us,” she said. “We don’t have it, we go down quickly. When we do have it, we’re a pretty good team.”
With its back against the wall, staring at its ninth-consecutive ACC loss, BC buckled down and began digging itself out of the two-goal hole. All of a sudden, the Eagles were back on the attack, running down every ball physically possible.
In a scrum for possession, Lucy Lytle—standing at just 5-foot-1—came up with the ball and delivered a pass to Brooke Matherson. The graduate student trailed left and then backhanded a shot into the right side of the cage, slicing the Eagles’ deficit to one with approximately 16 minutes left in the second frame.
Fast forward six minutes, and Fusine Govaert was dancing along the left sideline, batting the ball back into the field of play after watching it nearly teeter out of bounds. The Rye, N.Y. native fed the ball to Brooke Matherson, who was posted up in the left corner of the circle. With her back to the cage, Matherson centered a pass to Elizabeth Warner for the equalizer.
Wake Forest flirted with the game-winning goal in the final moments of the second period, but BC’s defense held strong, vying for its second-straight overtime affair. As soon as the extra frame began, it was clear the momentum was on the Eagles’ side. With two and a half minutes to go in the period, Haverhals sent a crossfield pass to a wide-open Lytle. The senior approached the cage with only the goalie to beat, but misfired, and the ball harmlessly dribbled out of bounds.
Haverhals would have to take matters into her own hands. A little more than six minutes into the second frame of overtime, the Netherlands native inserted a corner to Govaert atop the left side of the circle. The sophomore unleashed a shot on cage—one that was instantly deflected by a Demon Deacon defender. Attempting to avert danger, O’Connor sprawled on the ground to stop the ball, but a creeping Haverhals got her stick in just in time to squeeze the Eagles’ fourth and final goal of the night past the Wake Forest keeper.
Interestingly enough, the Demon Deacons were the last ACC team that BC defeated back on Oct. 21, 2016. Haverhals was the hero then, too, scoring a pair of goals. Doton stressed that, while her team has certainly not forgotten about last year’s 0-6 ACC slate, 2018 is a new year. And for the first time in four seasons, BC is 1-0 to start conference play.
Featured Image by Andy Backstrom / Heights Editor