Boston College wins battle of bubble teams, 1-0, over Maryland

The visiting Boston College Eagles got a goal five minutes into overtime from senior defender Zoe Lombard to edge past the Maryland Terrapins in a match where both teams needed to win to maintain a decent chance of getting into the postseason.

Going in, the teams were on the bubble for both the ACC and the NCAA tournaments. In the ACC standings, Maryland was eighth and Boston College was tenth with eight slots in the tournament. To qualify for the NCAA postseason, teams have to have at least a .500 record. The Terrapins were 9-8-0 while the Eagles were 8-8-1. So this was a big game for both teams.

Early on, the visitors seemed more aware of that than the home team, as BC kept the ball in their attacking half and put on the pressure. Junior forward Stephanie McCaffrey had a great chance in the 4th minute, getting open behind the Terp defense, but she let the ball get away from her, and Maryland goalkeeper Rachelle Beanlands made a diving grab to get the ball. Boston College’s lasted until the 19th minute, when the Terrapins launched one of their patented counterattacks after blocking an Eagles free kick. Sophomore Ashley Spivey initially led the charge, then sent the ball on to senior forward Hayley Brock, who powered her way through the Boston College defense despite two players trying to pull her down by her jersey. The eventual cross was sent out for an unfruitful corner kick, but the play seemed to wake up the Maryland players, who were more into the game from that point on. Spivey was open on the right two minutes later with Brock waiting in the goalmouth, but she sent the cross into the side netting.

The greatest excitement, though, came in the waning minutes of the half. The Terrapins got a free kick in the 44th minute that was initial cleared but then brought back in with junior midfielder Alex Doody sending a shot off the left post from just a couple of yards out. Then in the final minute the Eagles’ McCaffrey brought the ball down the left-hand side, got around the defense, but from similar range also sent the ball off the left post.

Maryland had the better of the few chances of the second half. Spivey send another shot off the woodwork in the 47th minute. The rebound fell to a Maryland player in the goalmouth, but she couldn’t put it on target. Seven minutes later, Boston College sophomore forward McKenzie Meehan had an open chance from the top of the box, but without much on it sophomore goalkeeper Rachelle Beanlands made the save easily.

In the 57th minute, Spivey chipped the Eagles defense to spring Brock, but with a defender right on her back the forward sent the ball to junior goalkeeper Alexandra Johnson. Come the 69th minute, and BC got an open shot from the left side of goal but from the tough angle missed wide right.

With four minutes left in regulation, Brock made another great run, but Johnson blocked the resulting shot, and sophomore midfielder Riley Barger’s attempt at a followup went high. The ninety minutes ended at 0-0.

Four minutes into overtime, Boston College engineered an attack that the Maryland defense cleared out for a corner kick left. That ball was sent in close to goal and was headed out by the defense for a corner kick right. Sophomore defender Lauren Bernard took the kick and sent the ball toward the near post, where Lombard headed it into the upper right corner to decide the match.

The result leaves Maryland with a 9-9-0 record overall and a 5-7-0 record in the ACC, while Boston College is now 9-8-1 and 5-6-1. The Eagles are now 8th in the ACC standings, while the Terrapins are 9th. Both teams have one game left in their regular season, and both are against ACC opponents. Boston College hosts 12th-place Syracuse at 4 pm Thursday, while Maryland hosts 14th-place Pitt at 7. With every other ACC team also playing on that date, the possible outcomes are too myriad to list, but suffice it to say that both teams need to win, Maryland more so than BC.

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