The No. 13 Boston College field hockey team flew into one of their biggest games of the season late Friday afternoon on the wings of a six-game win streak. BC squared off on the road against the top-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels in a game that had massive implications for both the ACC tournament and the national landscape.
BC struck first after two periods of scrappy, scoreless play, but would ultimately fall short on a late UNC goal in a 3-2 loss.
The game started out slow with both teams playing impressively stalwart defense. BC struggled to find a way past the Tar Heels, putting their first shot on target in the last two minutes of the first period.
The Eagles’ defense was equally remarkable in its own right as the deadly Tar Heels attack mustered a mere three shots in the entire first half, two of which ended up tamely in the grasp of goaltender Sarah Dwyer.
BC was the superior side in the first half with the majority of shots and penalty corners, and they finally got the goal they deserved when freshman Charlotte Von Huelsen hammered home a reverse shot from the top of the circle 43 minutes into play. Meanwhile, the Eagles managed to hold off UNC for yet another quarter despite giving up four penalty corners.
The 1-0 lead BC carried into the fourth quarter generated an air of urgency at Karen Shelton Stadium that ignited the game from a low-scoring snoozefest into an instant ACC classic. UNC scored an equalizer just three minutes into the final period on a loose ball that somehow snuck through both Katie Pianko and Dwyer to a wide-open UNC player at the back post.
Just moments later, UNC was awarded a penalty stroke on a stick interference call, and they capitalized on the opportunity to take a 2-1 lead with a well-placed strike to the right post.
Although BC’s lead over the nation’s top team was gone in five minutes, the Eagles kept their composure and showed resilience to knot things up at two with under five minutes to go. Elizabeth Warner was the goal scorer for the Eagles on a beautifully executed corner sent in by Margo Carlin.
With time running off the clock, it looked for sure like BC would come back to Chestnut Hill with the very respectable result of a draw, but the Tar Heels fired a dagger into all Eagle hearts when they scored off their seventh penalty corner of the game.
The crushing defeat snaps a six-game win streak for the Eagles and drops their record to 10-6 overall and 3-2 in conference play. BC now sits in the dead middle of the conference at fourth place, but they do share the same conference record as Louisville and Virginia, who both sit ahead on tie-breaker.
They will look to improve their standing and prepare for the ACC tournament when the Duke Blue Devils come to town next Friday night at 5 p.m. for the final game of the regular season.