The Boston College field hockey team did not win a single contest this fall season, in stark contrast to its Final Four run last year. The team played just two regular season games—due to a positive COVID-19 test on the team—and one postseason game.
Field hockey obviously did not expect its season to end without a win—however, much of its struggles are likely due to the pandemic. It was an unfortunate series of events exacerbated by COVID-19 that led the team to a 0-2 regular season record and a 0-1 postseason record.
Last year’s Cinderella season culminated in a loss to the No. 1 team at the time, North Carolina, in the national semifinals. The Eagles were heavy underdogs, but their grit and hard work brought them to an unprecedented postseason.
The Eagles were already behind on practice when they arrived on campus this season. BC was the only ACC program to not hold preseason training this year, putting them at an immediate disadvantage. They only began practicing when the team arrived on campus for classes, looking forward to their Oct. 4 start date.
BC was set for a tough seven-game ACC slate, beginning with four games on the road and ending with three games at home. The Eagles would then travel to Chapel Hill, looking to go further than last year in the postseason.
These plans fell apart rather quickly.
BC dropped its Oct. 4 season opener to Louisville by a score of 2-1. Jonna Kennedy looked to be a solid replacement in goal after BC's loss of senior Sarah Dwyer, saving nine of 11 shots. Elizabeth Warner made the singular BC goal late in the first half. The Eagles had multiple opportunities to tie the game late in the second half, but were unable to convert three penalty corners in the last five minutes of play.
The team was supposed to move on to back-to-back road games against Syracuse after the loss, but a positive COVID-19 test forced the Eagles to postpone their next five games. One player tested positive on Oct. 8 and, through contact tracing, nine other athletes had to quarantine for 14 days.
A limited roster forced BC to postpone—and later cancel—its next five games.
The Eagles were back in action just over three weeks after their COVID scare to face off against Wake Forest. The hiatus left the team looking rusty, as it dropped its second and final regular season game, 6-2.
Fusine Govaert and Warner both scored for BC, while Kennedy made seven saves. Warner’s diving goal late in the game earned her the No. 10 play on ESPN’s SportsCenter Top 10.
BC had one final chance to redeem its season with a win as the seventh seed in the ACC Championships. Two-seed North Carolina held the Eagles scoreless in their first-round matchup, 4-0.
This loss to North Carolina to end the season mimics how North Carolina ended BC's season last year as well. The difference, however, is that last season, the loss came in the Final Four.
A tough season, marked with losses and quarantines, came to a merciful end on Nov. 5. However, this is a team that can, and likely will, bounce back. More practices and games will help the team find its reason and get back to its 2019 success.
Head Coach Kelly Doton was the 2019 ACC Coach of the Year. Her experience, along with younger key returning players such as Jonna Kennedy, Margo Carlin, and Sky Caron, will ensure a winning field hockey team for BC.
The Eagles will return to the pitch this spring for another chance to prove themselves in the ACC.
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