The Boston University women’s lacrosse team made an early exit to the America East Tournament last season, as the University of Maryland-Baltimore County dealt BU a 12-11 loss in the first round of the tournament.
On Saturday, the Terriers and the Retrievers will face off for the first time since then in an America East game at UMBC.
Despite the loss in 2011, BU coach Liz Robertshaw said she does not think her team harbors any lingering animosity toward UMBC.
“We look at every year as a new year,” Robertshaw said. “We can’t change it from last year, we can’t change what happened. We can’t go back and fix it. This Saturday isn’t going to change last year.”
The Terriers (5-4, 1-0 America East) are now in possession of their first winning record of the season. After beginning with a 1-4 record, BU has won its last four games, three of which were non-conference.
The latest victory was its first in-conference matchup of the season, a contest against the University of Vermont last Saturday at Nickerson Field. The Terriers won a close battle with the Catamounts, 16-15. Junior attack Danielle Etrasco scored five goals for BU and senior attack Catie Tilton recorded five assists.
Etrasco remains BU’s leading goal scorer with 32 goals, followed by freshman attack Mallory Collins with 27. Etrasco also leads BU with 31 draw controls, while senior midfielder Annie Stookesberry has 13 ground balls. Tilton brought her assist total for the season up to 24 against Vermont.
Sophomore goalkeeper Christina Sheridan has allowed 102 goals in her 528:16 spread across nine games in net. She has also saved 73 shots. Junior goalkeeper Kim Elsworth totals 11:44 in goal this year, allowing two goals.
The Retrievers (4-5, 1-0 America East) also began their conference schedule last weekend in a bout with the University at Albany. UMBC won 8-5, scoring four goals in each half.
UMBC’s opponents have only taken 195 shots, but they’ve scored on 84, whereas the Retrievers themselves have scored on 85 of 221 shots. Opponents have registered 40 assists against UMBC, whereas the Retrievers only have 23 assists.
Robertshaw said she wants the Terriers to be original when they try to take advantage of UMBC’s tendency to allow assists.
“I want our offense to be as creative and as aggressive as possible,” Robertshaw said. “We have to create our own opportunities by going at this defensive unit from UMBC and seeing if we can get them off-balance and create some looks for ourselves and for all the players on our attack, not just Danielle and Mallory.”
The Retrievers are led in all scoring categories by midfielder Lindsay Cox. Cox has started all nine games for UMBC, scoring 24 goals, earning six assists and taking 47 shots on goal. She has scored on eight of the 18 free-position shots she has taken, again leading the team in both categories.
Midfielder Alicia Krause has controlled 14 on the Retrievers’ 115 ground balls. Of the 92 draw controls UMBC has won, 32 have been the responsibility of sophomore midfielder Kristen Bilney. And of the 57 turnovers caused by the Retrievers, 10 were the work of defender Jessica Harkey.
In goal, two players have guarded the cage for UMBC this season: junior Kendall Mason and freshman Anna Barnett. Mason has played 317:47 across eight games, all of which she started. She has allowed 58 goals, and made 29 saves with a record of 3-4. Barnett has come into six games and started one, allowing 26 goals and making 33 saves. She has a record of 1-1.
Since the Terriers played Vermont, BU has not played a game, something that worries Robertshaw.
“From a coach’s standpoint, I would rather be playing,” Robertshaw said. “It keeps them sharper, gets them in that game mentality. I think anytime you take some time off, you get a little sluggish.
Still, the coach said she was happy with how her team performed on Wednesday, the usual day for a midweek game, and she knows the break could help bring the Terriers back to full strength.
“I was really happy with the way we practiced [Wednesday] and the intensity they came out with,” Robertshaw said. “I also know, on the other side of things, I love the break to be able to rest some of my players that need the rest.”