The Boston University field hockey team will look to continue its dominance over the conference tomorrow afternoon when it welcomes the University of Maine to Jack Barry Field.
Coming off a 2-0 win over No. 18 Providence College last weekend, the Terriers (7-7, 2-0 America East) have hit their stride, something BU coach Sally Starr knows is crucial as her team heads toward the postseason.
‘I think Providence was an outstanding game for us all around,’ Starr said. ‘Everything came together. We need to keep maintaining the same effort we put into that game. We know what we need to do. The attack needs to attack together, and the defense needs to play together.’
Leading the Terrier charge of late has been junior forward Nikki Lloyd, who was awarded America East Player of the Week honors this week for her three goals in the Terriers’ last two games.
Lloyd, who missed the Terriers’ first three games due to injury, has stormed back to the top of BU’s scoring list.
With six goals and 12 points in 10 games, Lloyd’s fast-paced and aggressive play has ratcheted up the Terrier offense.’
‘Nikki is a very talented striker,’ Starr said. ‘She started out the year with an injury and couldn’t play. But now her fitness has come along and she has gotten herself in the right place at the right time. She’s poised to do what she needs to do to score.’
Behind Lloyd, BU’s defense has continued to mature through the early stages of October.
With just six goals against in its last five games ‘-’- a 4-1 stretch that brought the Terriers back to .500 for the first time since Sept. 13 ‘-’- the defense has rallied around sophomore goalkeeper Kim Kastuk.
While Kastuk leads America East goalies with 26 goals allowed against this year, the statistic that stands out to Starr is Kastuk’s number of shutout wins.
With four shutouts in 14 games, Kastuk has ‘-’- and quickly at that ‘-’- become BU’s most consistent player.
‘When Kim is on, she’s outstanding,’ Starr said. ‘She’s a great athlete.’
With Maine (3-9, 0-2) on the horizon, BU will need to put forth a defensive effort equivalent to the one it handcuffed Providence with last weekend.
‘It’s just a matter of stepping on the field and playing with urgency,’ Starr said. ‘We need to have that competitive fire, collectively playing together both offensively and defensively. We need to play to the moment, being the best hockey team we can be. For our team right now, it’s all about keeping the on switch on.’
The Black Bears’ most lethal threat on offense this year is freshman forward Stephanie Gardiner. With six goals and three assists, Gardiner leads a Black Bear attack similar to that of Providence.
‘Maine is a much-improved team from last year, and they are similar [to Providence] in that they have some good attacking players,’ Starr said. ‘But it’s a team we have to respect and play 70 minutes of hockey against. We need to come out and play 70 minutes of hockey, and the rest will take care of itself.’