Under sunny skies, the Boston University field hockey team suffered a shocking 2-1 loss Saturday to the University of Maine at Jack Barry Field. The setback marked the Terriers’ first home conference loss in nearly three years.
BU (7-8, 2-1 America East) dominated statistically and controlled the pace for much of the game. The home team held a 20-4 advantage in shots, earning 13 penalty corners while Maine managed only one. However, the Terriers took advantage of several early scoring chances.
‘It’s really a disappointing loss ‘-’- a tough loss for us because we could have clinched a conference spot by beating Maine,’ BU coach Sally Starr said. ‘Now this puts us in a situation where we have to win at least one more conference game. In the first half, they crossed our midfield line only a handful of times.’
Maine (4-9, 1-2) broke a scoreless tie seven minutes into the second half, when freshman Kelly Newton redirected a pass from classmate Stephanie Gardiner at the right post past BU goalkeeper Kim Kastuk.
Less than a minute later, the Black Bears silenced the home crowd with another quick tally that proved to be the game-winner. On a fast break up the left side, sophomore Maire Dineen slung the ball to senior Nicole Emery, who slipped a shot inside the right post.
‘Our two big problems are not scoring when we have really great scoring opportunities and just giving up bad goals,’ Starr said. ‘Transitional goals where we just clot, not doing what we need to do, defensively not recovering on the line, anticipating, getting beaten to the ball a little bit and playing sloppy defense. That’s a major, major problem for us.’
In the 56th minute, tensions rose as bodies hit the ground with tackles and dives for loose balls, culminating with Maine junior Jackie D’Amato receiving a yellow card. After taking a timeout, the stakes raised when the Terriers pulled Kastuk for an extra attacker.
With an additional player and a re-energized crowd, the Terriers responded with six minutes remaining in regulation. Attacking along the right edge of the circle, freshman Giovanna Monaco redirected a pass just above the near post by leading scorer Nikki Lloyd into the left corner of the cage.
Increased offensive pressure in the waning moments of the second half ‘-’- including several close calls with 12 shots on goal ‘-’- did not bring the equalizer as the temperature dropped along with the Terriers’ chances to rally.
Freshman keeper Brittany Fleck was sensational in goal for the Black Bears, making six saves off her pads by sprawling across the cage and kicking the ball out of the zone.
‘I think their goalie had the game of her lifetime,’ Starr said. ‘At times, I thought she was making saves with her toenails.’
Losing to Maine for the first time since 2003 forces the inconsistent Terriers to regroup in time for their remaining games.
‘We need to move forward here,’ Starr said. ‘I think we did a heck of a lot of things right in that game. We need to continue to work on our scoring and finishing and take positives from the game. Our pressing was very effective, we generated a lot of attacks, we got into the circle and we created a lot of corners. There were a lot of really good things coming out of this game, and we want to build on that.
‘We still believe in ourselves and believe in this team that they’re capable of having a very successful season.’