Giant killers

For the second time this season, the Boston University field hockey team knocked off a Top-10 opponent yesterday, upsetting the No. 6 University of Connecticut, 2-0, at Jack Barry Field.
The imposing Huskies (13-2) have won their previous four games, most recently handing then-No. 1 Syracuse University its first loss of the season.
But the Terriers (8-8), who were attempting to bounce back from a rare loss to the University of Maine three days earlier, were not deterred by the hype surrounding the matchup with the Huskies.
‘This was a great team win,’ BU coach Sally Starr said. ‘We really felt confident going into this game. Our team has really done a great job all year bouncing back after a tough loss. I thought we were really in a good position to come out and have a good game.’
It took just eight minutes for the home team to strike. From the right side of the field, junior midfielder Gabby Hajjar passed the ball just outside the circle, where freshman Kiley Allosso redirected it to graduate student Sheena Berry. Berry slashed a shot from the top of the circle inside the right post and into the cage.
The Terriers doubled their lead nearly six minutes later on a corner. After Hajjar entered the ball, junior Haley Robinson had a stick-stop and Berry again found the cage from the top of the circle.
BU played with enthusiasm and fervor throughout the game, which Starr attributed to intensified and improved practices.
‘We just really came out to play,’ Starr said. ‘We’ve really been working on our competitive zeal. In practices, we’ve really been upping the ante and competing hard against ourselves, so that come matches, it’s more natural to them to play hard and compete with passion and commitment.’
Holding a 5-3 shot advantage in the first half, the Terriers endured the Huskies’ offensive pressure after the break, allowing 11 shots and nine penalty corners. Sophomore goalkeeper Kim Kastuk made five saves to earn her fifth shutout of the year.
The win ended Connecticut’s seven-game winning streak in the all-time series and represented the visitors’ first shutout loss in more than two years.
‘We had a lot of confidence in the gameplan and implemented it really well,’ Starr said. ‘I felt that we needed to do a half-court press on them. We really fell back ‘-’- we gave them a lot of space to bring the ball out. It’s actually difficult to do if you don’t practice a lot, but some other changes we had made really worked well for us.’
The victory continued a string of quality wins against ranked foes this season.
‘We’ve had some outstanding wins this year, actually some wins that last year’s team wasn’t able to get,’ Starr said. ‘We haven’t beat Connecticut in a really long time. The win against [the then-No. 8 University of] Virginia` was a real quality win and also beating [then-No. 19] Providence [College], who was number one in New England at the time.
‘We just need this team to keep the on-switch on as we’re going into the end of the season.’

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