Previewing 2018 Field Hockey: Virginia – The Heights

boston college field hockey

Winner of three of its past four games, Boston College field hockey returns home after a brief road trip for a two-game homestand, starting with a top-10 matchup against No. 10 Virginia. The ninth-ranked Eagles (4-3, 1-1 Atlantic Coast) are aiming to right the ship against ranked opponents, as they enter with just one win in four tries. Despite being ranked a spot lower, the Cavaliers (3-3, 1-0) will be a tough out, having beaten BC the last three times they’ve faced.

Who is BC playing?
No. 10 Virginia

When is BC playing?
Friday, Sept. 21, 6:05 p.m.

Where is BC playing?
Field Hockey Complex, Newton, Mass.

How to Watch:
The game will be available to stream on ACC Network Extra.

By the Numbers:

BC:

1) Fusine Govaert paces the Eagles with four goals, two of which were game-winners. The sophomore is just two goals shy of matching her mark from all of last season.

2) BC has taken a step forward on both sides of the ball this year. In 2017, the Eagles scored 2.16 goals while conceding 2.05 per game—a slim 0.11 scoring margin. That number has grown to a full goal through their first seven games this season, scoring 2.57 while allowing just 1.57.

3) There’s a concerning trend that goes against the above point of offensive success—after registering double-digit shots on goal in three of its first four games, BC hasn’t matched that mark since. It managed nine in Tuesday’s win over Northeastern, but just 11 combined in the previous two games.

Virginia:

1) Forward Grace Wallis—only a freshman—has been one of the most balanced players in the ACC thus far, boasting four goals and four assists for 12 points, good for the fourth-best per game average in the conference.

2) It’s been quite the youth movement for the Cavaliers in 2018, as all but three of their 15 goals scored this year have been by freshmen. Wallis has plenty to do with that, but four other freshmen have netted goals, including the game-winner in each of UVA’s three wins.

3) The Cavaliers are desperately looking to avoid a slide in the rankings by beating BC—they’ve dropped back-to-back games against No. 21 Old Dominion and No. 20 Liberty, which doesn’t bode well for the program. Those losses followed an overtime win over then-No. 10 Syracuse, so it’s up in the air which UVA team will show up.

Last Meeting:

After being outscored, 8-1, in its first two conference games, BC went into Charlottesville, Va., looking to right the ship. The result wasn’t pretty, as the Cavaliers blanked them, 3-0. The Eagles were able to largely contain UVA’s potent offense, which had entered averaging upwards of six goals per game, but couldn’t manufacture many chances on the other end. BC was nearly doubled up in shots, 21-11, and conceded 11 penalty corners in the defeat.

BC wins if…

It continues to play at a high level. Chances are, if you’re playing countless narrow one-goal games, the ball will bounce in your favor at some point. The Eagles have played four ranked opponents and one just once, but the other three games were each decided by a goal. BC has taken steps forward from last year, both offensively and defensively, and should be confident on its home pitch that it can knock off a team that has historically held an edge.

BC loses if…

It doesn’t contain Wallis, and another one-goal loss is chalked up to a few unlucky breakdowns here and there. Wallis could easily score a first-half goal that holds up the rest of the way, as fans of the program are well familiar with the “oh so close” feeling. Last season, in the ACC, BC went winless—and two of its losses were decided by a lone goal. After slipping by Wake Forest in overtime and then falling to Louisville at the very end of regulation, it’s looking more and more like one-score nailbiters could be the theme of the 2018 campaign, especially down the stretch of the year.

Featured Image by Maggie DePatri / Heights Staff

Bradley Smart
About Bradley Smart 181 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.