After suffering its first America East Conference loss since 2005 last Saturday, this afternoon’s home bout against the No. 6 University of Connecticut will give the Boston University field hockey team a chance to re-evaluate heading into the final stretch of the season.
‘UConn is an excellent team,’ BU coach Sally Starr said. ‘It’s going to be an exciting game. I like the fact that we have them right now to test the resolve of our team after a really difficult loss.’
This afternoon’s contest against UConn (13-1) presents the Terriers (7-8) with an opportunity to avenge five consecutive losses to the Huskies dating back to 2003.
The most recent loss, a 2-1 decision in Storrs, Conn., last year, sent the Terriers home from the NCAA Tournament. None of UConn’s wins, however, have come at Jack Barry Field.
Looking to reverse their fortunes against the Huskies, Starr and associate head coach Tracey Paul have restructured the Terriers’ offensive front.
Angled toward speed, as UConn boasts one of the strongest defenses in the nation, the exact changes put in place for this afternoon will remain unknown until the opening draw.
‘We’ve made some structural changes,’ Starr said, remaining mum on the specifics of her moves to retain the competitive advantage. ‘We’ve been looking at a lot of tape and know we have to do a lot of things better, especially with positioning. Hopefully our changes and the experience we’ve gained over the past few games will help.’
Over the Terriers’ last three games, BU hasn’t had much trouble generating scoring opportunities. One issue, however, has been putting shots on goal.
The Terriers’ futile midfield transition game was what sunk them last Saturday against the University of Maine.
Holding back the Huskies, a team with the most lethal offensive transition game BU has faced since Duke University two weeks ago, through the midfield will be a key to the Terriers’ success.
‘They are an excellent attacking team through the midfield,’ Starr said. ‘We cannot do what we allowed Maine to do on the transition. We have to make sure we keep our numbers back and defend.’
Throughout the year, BU has relied on the unfaltering play of sophomore goalkeeper Kim Kastuk. Kastuk, who is tied for the America East lead in shutouts this year, has performed admirably over the past two weeks.’
‘She’s looking at tape and learning from her mistakes,’ Starr said. ‘She has played very well all year, and she has always bounced back from tough losses. If we come out and play hard ‘-’- play hard defense and play well ‘-’- this afternoon will be a competitive match.’