The Wake Forest Demon Deacons (9-1, 1-1) picked up a huge win Thursday night, traveling to Newton, Massachusetts to take on the Boston College Eagles (6-3-1, 0-2), and leaving with all three points after a 1-0 win. With the win, the Deacs moved back to .500 in conference after that home opening loss to #7 UVA, and found a result against a physical, organized conference foe on their home turf. It was far from the best 90 minutes the Deacs have put together this season, but in the end they played well enough to win this game, and although it wasn’t perfect, there were a lot of positives to build on as they continue this ACC road trip.
There were not many clear cut chances in the first 20-25 minutes of this game, with the Deacs starting well the first 5-10 minutes with the press creating some chaos in the BC backline and midfield, allowing them a few minutes of control, but as the Eagles settled down and the Deacs continued to play sloppily, BC would have the much better of the next 15 minutes and the rest of the half, although during this period they were wasteful in the attacking half, misplacing passes and committing turnovers or just being shut down by Wake’s backline, who were having some struggles in possession and with communication, but were still holding the Eagles at arm’s length.
A strange deflection on a Sophie Faircloth cross would force the Eagles’ freshman keeper Wiebke Willebrandt into the first significant save of the contest in the 26th minute, as the German shotstopper would tip the deflection over the crossbar as it looped down toward her goal. A couple of minutes later, BC had the chance to take the lead, with a shot deflected by Zara Chavoshi deflecting out to Faircloth, who would pop it off of her chest and back toward her own goal, where Laura Gouvin would flick the ball back to Sam Smith, who would blitz one off of the crossbar from the center of the box. It was a chance for BC to take the game with both hands and have something to show for their spell of dominance, but it would go begging, and they would go on to regret it when, in the 30th minute, Jenna Menta would find herself in space down the left flank and would flash a ball across the box that Shayla Smart was able to get to ahead of Willebrandt, with the deflection leading to the ball settling in the middle of the box, where Hulda Arnarsdottir would slide in and put it into the back of the net to give the Deacs the lead, completely against the run of play. It appeared the be the result of a miscommunication between Michela Agresti and Willebrandt, with Agresti letting the ball come through rather than booting it to safety, leading to the scramble that resulted in a goal.
This goal would only change the scoreline, though, as the game continued to be controlled by the Eagles for the rest of the half. Ella Richards almost got one back immediately for BC, cutting away from Kristin Johnson and Ryanne Brown to lift one toward the center of the goal, with Kaitlyn Parks getting up to tip it over the crossbar. On the ensuing corner, Samantha Agresti would get a free header on the far side of the box, but she couldn’t direct her effort on frame. BC wouldn’t get another big chance before half, but with Wake still struggling in possession, the Eagles had a chokehold on the flow of the game, but nothing to show for it.
Coming out of the half, it was much of the same for the first 15-20 minutes, with BC having the better of the chances and control of the game, with the Eagles looking likely to knot the scores back up. Kristin Johnson was forced into a goal line clearance in the 50th minute when Kaitlyn Parks was unable to get a handle on a ball in from a corner, with Michela Agresti unable to react quickly enough to do anything other than swing her leg at the ball which led to an awkward effort that Johnson prevented from being any danger. In the 60th minute, with a ball in from Jenna Bike being met by Laura Gouvin on the full volley, but she was unable to direct it back on frame.
As the half wore on, however, Wake began looking like the much more dangerous of the two teams, as even though BC would have the majority of the ball for the rest of the game, Wake would be able to continue thwarting them going forward and get out of their own half with the ball to create dangerous chances. Ryanne Brown had an opportunity to double Wake’s lead in the 68th minute when she latched onto a bouncing ball inside the six yard box from a corner on the half volley, but was unable to get her hips around it and saw it flash wide. As the Deacs had this spell BC almost equalized, as in the 77th minute Michela Agresti nearly evened the scores with a backheeled effort from a corner that she put on target, but somehow Kaitlyn Parks was able to get a hand to it to pop it up, and gratefully collected the rebound.
Jenna Menta would have a huge chance to put the game to bed in the 79th minute, with a ball across from Malaika Meena finding her on the full volley for a flick on goal inside of the six yard box, with a defender and the keeper in tight, but she got too far under her effort and lifted it over Willebrandt and off of the crossbar. A bit of a fluky chance came Wake’s way in the 82nd minute as an attempted clearance from Michela Agresti would deflect off of Sofia Rossi and back on goal, looping over the head of Willebrandt, who was miraculously able to come back toward her own goal to recover and punch the ball wide before Shayla Smart could nod the ball in to shut the door on the Eagles. Hulda Arnarsdottir had the most clear chance of this stretch, with Malaika Meena winning an aerial duel in the midfield to put Michela Agresti under pressure, with the BC center back putting an ugly pass back to her goalkeeper, and Arnarsdottir getting there to flick it over the onrushing Willebrandt, but her effort was cleared away by Haley Thomas, although it was going wide anyway. Ultimately, Wake would see out the rest of the game while mostly holding onto the ball, giving them a huge road ACC win.
Player of the match here, in my opinion, can only go to one player, Sophie Faircloth, who was absolutely incredible at left back, winning her duels and one on ones on the back end and putting in some good service going forward. I also thought that Kristin Johnson had an excellent game defensively, and Kaitlyn Parks had a solid game in goal, making a couple of big saves, and although it wasn’t all perfect, her performance and confidence increased as the game went on. All in all, Wake had to suffer for this one in a real team effort, and for their work they add another win to their record.
The Demon Deacons return to action on Sunday at Syracuse with kickoff set for 1:00 PM.