The No. 9 seed Boston College men's soccer traveled to North Carolina Wednesday night to take on the No. 8 seed North Carolina State University Wolfpack in the first round of the ACC tournament. Coming into the game, BC had not lost to the Wolfpack since 2015. That streak ended with a 3-1 defeat in a game in which the Eagles were never able to take control.
Despite BC's 4-7-4 record going into the game, BC Head Coach Ed Kelly felt good about the matchup. Six of those seven losses had been decided by only one goal. The Eagles defeated NC State in their regular season matchup in Newton. Unfortunately for BC, NC State was able to remain undefeated at home behind a large fan section.
The important postseason game led to a chippy and emotional atmosphere. It was not even 30 seconds into the game when the first foul was called against BC after an attempted tackle of NC State’s star forward David Loera. By the five-minute mark, BC star Simon Enstrom—who has scored half of the team’s 18 goals this season—was taken down by a defender and appeared to be in severe pain. Enstrom was able to remain in the game, but the tension between the two teams only escalated from there.
Fittingly, a foul resulted in the first goal of the game. BC player Joshua Forbes was called for a tackle, and NC State’s Brad Sweeney converted on the ensuing free kick. BC's goalkeeper Antonio Chavez Borelli was frozen on the play as Sweeney’s kick sailed into the back of the net.
After this goal, the Eagles began to get back some momentum. They pushed further into NC State territory, eliminating many of the turnovers and lazy passes that they had often committed earlier in the game.
The Eagle’s efforts finally paid off halfway through the second half, when Abe Bibas scored the equalizer on a diving header off a cross from Heidar Aegisson. It was Bibas’ second goal of the year.
This equalizing goal seemed to snap NC State out of a stupor, as they proceeded to play with newfound confidence. The Wolfpack regained the lead later in the second half.
Both sides played with urgency throughout the final 20 minutes. This strategy ended up in the Wolfpack’s favor, as they netted two goals to take the lead. Both of the goals—scored by David Loera in minute 70 and Alex Bautista in minute 87—were scored on fast break chances for NC State. Chavez Borelli found little help from his defenders on each of the final two goals. Despite allowing the three NC State scores, Chavez Borelli made four saves on the night.
NC State will look to carry the momentum from their victory onto the next round of the conference tournament. They will face the daunting task of taking down Wake Forest—the top seed in the tournament and No. 1 team in the nation.
Boston College, on the other hand, sees their season come to an end. They now shift their focus to the 2019 season. Nine of the 30 rostered players are freshmen, so Head Coach Ed Kelly will look to build on the team’s young talent. The Eagles finish the 2018 season with a record of 4-8-4.
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