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Soccer Battles to 3-3 Draw with Eagles

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami women’s soccer team earned a hard-fought point in its matchup with visiting Boston College Sunday, battling its way to a 3-3 draw at Cobb Stadium.

Facing deficits in both halves, the Hurricanes (8-6-1, 3-6-1 ACC) managed to level twice before taking their first lead of the game in the middle stages of the second frame. Goals from three different Hurricanes, including the team-leading 10th tally of the year for junior Ashley Flinn, highlighted one of the most complete team performances of the season.

“We’re definitely happy we got a point,” head coach Mary-Frances Monroe said. “Points have been a little difficult to get in the past few games, and that’s what I said to them after the game.”

Facing a 1-0 deficit after the 11th goal of the season for Boston College’s Stephanie McCaffrey, Miami rallied to tie less than 10 minutes later on Flinn’s opening strike. After receiving a terrific through-ball from sophomore Jasmine Paterson, Flinn streaked up field and calmly slotted past Boston College keeper Alex Johnson to level.

“We went over a lot of passing patterns this week,” Monroe said. “I think we’ve engrained it in their heads. They were in bad habits, and we’ve been working a ton of good movements off the ball, good movements when another player motions, and I think it all really clicked today.”

The Hurricanes found themselves facing a 2-1 deficit at halftime after McCaffrey put the visitors ahead once again, but the hosts would respond in the opening minutes of the second half.

Rather than delivering service from her sharp angle roughly 20 yards out, senior Tara Schwitter curled a shot on a free kick over the hand of Johnson to level at 2-2 in the 58th minute. The crafty strike from distance marked Schwitter’s second goal of the year.

“It’s funny, because earlier this week I was practicing free kicks with Coach Monroe from the same exact spot,” Schwitter said. “I practiced it a few days ago, and it ended up happening in the game.”

The Hurricanes would take their first lead of the game two minutes later. A clever pass from junior midfielder Erin McGovern found an open Paterson, who slotted away her fourth of the season. With help from their sophomore striker, the Hurricanes set a season-high mark in goals (three) for a conference match.

“Case and point, just a movement off the ball,” Monroe said of the goal. “We were able to play a quick ball, we got her behind the backline, and Jasmine was able to finish a great chance.”

Dramatics ensued in the 65th minute when Johnson was issued a red card for a challenge on a Flinn breakaway. Jessica Mickelson entered the game at goalkeeper, and the Eagles were down to 10 players for the final 45 minutes of the match. Miami threatened but was unable to capitalize on its advantage.

The head referee awarded Boston College a penalty kick on a challenge near the fringes of the box in the 80th minute, and Gibby Wagner beat Lillard to tie the match at 3-3. Neither team was able to find an elusive golden goal in the overtime sessions, and the match ended in an appropriate draw.

“It was such a big game for our team. We needed a momentum shift,” Schwitter said. “Although it was only a tie, a point is a point, and at this point in the season, that’s what we’re playing for.  When we click as a team, we do a really good job and we can play with anybody.”

Monroe was impressed with her team’s fight, coming back from deficits on two separate occasions and eventually taking a lead.

“I think we learned a lot. There were definitely games this season when we put our heads down,” she said. “You can’t be complacent. We talked as a team and said it’s not good enough. Everything matters – every inch, every second, every movement. I think they really took it to heart.”

The Hurricanes travel to Charlottesville for a matchup with No. 1 Virginia Thursday (7 p.m.) before a trip to nearby Blacksburg and a matchup with Virginia Tech Sunday (12 p.m.).