Previewing 2018 Field Hockey: Louisville

boston college field hockey

After a successful bounce-back weekend—one that included wins over Atlantic Coast foe Wake Forest and top-25 Albany, the ninth-ranked Boston College field hockey team is gearing up for one of its stiffest tests yet, a road matchup with No. 8 Louisville. The win over the Demon Deacons was the first ACC win for the Eagles (3-2, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) in almost two years, so, with that out of the way, the chance to make serious noise in a loaded conference is a real possibility.

In her fourth year, BC head coach Kelly Doton is just 5-16 all time in conference play. With plenty of depth and returning talent, winning games like Friday night’s matchup with the Cardinals (4-2, 0-1) is how she’ll prove that she’s got a coaching style that holds up in one of the best conferences in the sport.

Who is BC playing?

No. 8 Louisville

When is BC playing?

Friday, Sept. 14, 6 p.m.

Where is BC playing?
Trager Stadium, Louisville, Ky.

How to Watch:

You can stream the game on ACC Network Extra via WatchESPN.

By the Numbers:

BC:

1) The shutout over the visiting Great Danes on Sunday was particularly promising, considering that all of last season, the Eagles managed just three shutouts. In five games thus far, they’ve already posted two—goalkeeper Sarah Dwyer is pacing the conference. BC allowed two-plus goals in each of the other three games, but the goals against average as a whole is 20 points lower than the season prior.

2) The balanced offense boasts three players who’ve already surpassed seven points on the young season. Currently ranked 16th in the country in scoring average, the Eagles have scored five total goals in three games against ranked opponents. Granted, two of those were losses, and the overall numbers are inflated by a seven-goal output in the season opener against Quinnipiac, but there’s still a promising attack with depth.

3) Brooke Matherson, Frederique Haverhals, and Fusine Govaert have all scored three times apiece and have three assists between the three of them. The 22 points between the trio is the third-highest total in the conference, only paling in comparison to groups from No. 1 North Carolina and No. 4 Duke.

Louisville:

1) The Cardinals are coming off a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Tar Heels, but own the distinction of leading the top team in the country for a bit after Katie Schneider’s early goal put them ahead. UNC would follow with three unanswered goals for the win, but Louisville looked decent at the very least.

2) The well-fought contest with the Tar Heels and an overtime win over California later in the weekend pushed the Cardinals up three spots in the national rankings, and they’ve spent 57-consecutive weeks firmly in the Top 25. It’s no surprise as Louisville has made it to the NCAA Tournament each of the last three seasons.

3) The obvious player to watch last year was Minout Mink, who piled up 26 goals in just two years with the Cardinals. That scoring burden has shifted this year to a more balanced group, one that’s pretty comparable to BC. Mercedes Pastor, Erica Cooper, and Schneider all each have two goals.

Last Meeting:

It was an easy win for the visiting Cardinals, who rolled to a 4-1 win in Newton on Oct. 6, 2017. Taylor Stone, a preseason All-ACC selection this year, tallied twice, while Ayeisha McFarren came away with seven saves to stifle the Eagles. The lone goal came from Lucy Lytle in what was the fourth historical meeting between the two. Ironically, both teams are perfect at the homes of the other—BC beat Louisville by scores of 3-1 and 2-1 the last two times it was in Kentucky.

Outlook:

On paper, these are two tremendously even teams. Both have reliable goaltenders, balanced attacks, and strong midfield corps. They have depth, are well used to the trials and tribulations of playing in the ACC, and bear top-10 rankings. Louisville was picked to finish higher in the conference this season and boasted more consistency over the past few years, but was still tasked with replacing five starters. The Eagles, meanwhile, returned the bulk of their starters, and it’s showed thus far with talented, capable captains and a resilient group mentality. Who wins? Like most ACC games, it would be far from a surprise if this came down to a goal in overtime—it’s just a matter of which team gets the more favorable bounce.

Featured Image by Maggie DiPatri / Heights Staff

Bradley Smart
About Bradley Smart 160 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.