BC Knocks Off No. 4 Duke in Regular Season Finale

boston college field hockey

Boston College field hockey’s group of four seniors—which includes offensive force Brigid Wood and starting goaltender Sarah Dwyer—had never beaten Duke before in their careers. On Friday night, though, they finally bucked that trend. Dwyer posted a three-save shutout, Fusine Govaert scored a 50th-minute game winner, and the Eagles knocked off the No. 4 Blue Devils to close the regular season, 1-0.

At the outset of the game, it didn’t look like BC was fully up to the challenge of playing Duke. The Eagles repeatedly let the Blue Devils weave the ball into the attacking third with little resistance. Within the first two minutes, Duke’s Hannah Miller managed to draw a penalty corner off a play from Sky Caron. The Blue Devils failed to convert on the penalty corner but it seemed as though the offense was only heating up. Duke continually played the ball in deep and managed to record three shots on goal in the first quarter to the Eagles’ zero. 

The momentum-changing moment came with less than a minute to play in the first quarter when Dwyer recorded two outstanding saves within a matter of seconds. Off a penalty corner, Duke’s Hannah Miller played the ball straight onto the net, prompting a diving stop from Dwyer. The rebound found its way onto the stick of Blue Devils forward Lisa Krause, though, and she attempted to shove it into the cage, only to be denied by Dwyer’s kick-save. After that, the horn sounded and BC regrouped.

Whatever head coach Kelly Doton said to her Eagles during the first quarter break really did the trick, as BC looked like a completely different team in the second. The defense tightened up, surrendering zero shots on goal for 15 minutes. The offense seemed to find its legs as well, as the Eagles’ long clearing passes found their way to forwards running down the sidelines and up the middle. But Duke’s defense didn’t budge. Instead, the Blue Devils were able to counter with tempo of their own, and so ensued a 15-minute stretch of frantic back-and-forth action with neither team gaining any momentum.

The second half provided an unexpected offensive push from BC, which Duke had no answer for. The Eagles came flying out of the gates to open the half, dominating the time of possession battle and stonewalling any Duke attempt to push the ball downfield. BC had its chances early in the third quarter but was ultimately foiled by Duke goaltender Sammi Steele, who recorded four saves in the second half. Even though BC missed wide off a penalty corner late in the third frame, the scoreless game seemed as though it was going to fall the way the Eagles.

BC’s energy and drive carried over into the fourth quarter. With the score still tied, Jamie Natale made a nice run into the circle before being tripped up. It was an obvious foul, but the official made no call. BC managed to drive the ball deep into the circle two minutes later, but still couldn’t find the back of the net. 

Then, Margo Carlin received a beautiful cross-field pass and had a go at net, but Steele dove to make the stop. Moments later, BC received a penalty corner, and this time the Eagles made it count. Govaert received the ball at the top of the circle and drove it through several defenders without hesitation. The ball slammed into the back of the net, giving BC a 1-0 lead and eventually the win.

BC’s victory over Duke marks the first win against the Blue Devils for Doton. It also signifies the culmination of the careers of four BC seniors who also had never beaten Duke in Dwyer, Wood, Kate Pianko, and Emily Buttinger. The team as a whole showed resilience, bouncing back from a 4-5 start to the year. With an experienced core and home-field advantage, the Eagles will look to make a run at the ACC Tournament title next week.