A week after clinching the America East regular-season title, the Boston University lacrosse team played its final home game and non-conference game of the regular season on Sunday afternoon, ending on a high note with an 11-6 win over Canisius College.
The win pushes BU (10-5, 5-0 America East) to 5-5 against non-conference opponents and is the Terriers’ ninth in the last 10 games.
Still, BU coach Liz Robertshaw said she did not think it was the team’s cleanest win of the year, even while it added another mark in the win column.
“We would have liked to put a little bit better attacking production out there,” Robertshaw said. “We weren’t as sharp and crisp as we could have been, but a win is a win, and that’s something we’ve talked about with this team. Every game is an opportunity to win, so that’s our focus.”
BU controlled scoring from the outset, with a goal from junior attack Danielle Etrasco just shy of six minutes into the game, opening the scoring for both teams. Canisius (8-8) responded with a goal from senior Carly Quinn as she came around the left side of the goal from behind the net at 22:46.
Freshman attack Mallory Collins then put the Terriers back on top with a blasted shot through multiple Canisius defenders on the right side with 22:18 remaining in the half. But after BU sophomore goalkeeper Christina Sheridan was whistled for a foul and forced to position herself away from the goal on the resulting free-position shot, six members of the Terrier defense could not protect the net, and Canisius again evened the score.
A goal off a free-position shot from Etrasco and another from senior attack Catie Tilton put the Terriers in control of the lead for good with slightly over 15 minutes remaining in the first half. Two more from senior attack Hannah Frey and Danielle Etrasco around the 10-minute mark gave BU the six goals it took into the half, though Canisius held onto the ball for most of the final 10 minutes and cut the lead down to 6-4.
In the second half, the BU attack scored 24 seconds in with a goal credited to Etrasco that took a funny bounce into the net. The Terriers made a number of stops against long Golden Griffin possessions, holding Canisius to just two goals in the half while scoring four more after the first quick goal to seal the win.
BU turned the ball over 16 times, compared to eight turnovers for Canisius. The Golden Griffins forced 10 of those, while the Terriers only forced five. Although BU outscored its opponent, the ball spent most of the game in the possession of Canisius sticks on long offensive possessions.
Robertshaw cited both the Terrier defense challenging well and the Golden Griffin attack looking for the perfect shot as reasons for the extended possessions. During those periods, the Canisus attackers appeared content to pass the ball around and run well away from the goal to maintain possession, only moving into a full scoring mode when the opportunity seemed flawless.
“I was really excited by the way that our defense was playing,” Robertshaw said. “We did a nice job of shutting them down early on, making them try again, try again, try again.”
In last week’s America East-clinching victory over Stony Brook University at Nickerson Field, Robertshaw pulled sophomore goalkeeper Christina Sheridan minutes into the game after she allowed four unanswered goals and replaced her with junior Kim Elsworth, who helped lead the BU turnaround. On Sunday, Robertshaw turned back to Sheridan, who returned to the cage with 15 saves and only allowed six goals.
After this week’s game, Robertshaw was happy with her goaltender decision.
“It was a tough call before going into this game, knowing how well both Kim and Christina were playing in practice, but I went with the goalie that’s gotten us through a lot of these games,” Robertshaw said. “I feel confident with Kim and was ready to go with Kim, but I was really excited by some of those big saves and the confidence that Christina was showing today.”
Three seniors – attacks Frey, Tilton and Annie Stookesberry – scored a combined four goals on Senior Day, but it was Etrasco who led the Terriers with four goals and two assists.
Senior attack Molly Swain, sophomore midfielder Sydney Godett and Sheridan tied for the BU lead with two ground balls, while sophomore attack Elizabeth Morse won four draw controls.
Quinn and midfielder Megan Oosting led Canisius with two goals each, and Quinn had the lone assist for the Golden Griffins on the day. Midfielder Maria Kotas picked up three ground balls and won three draws, leading her team in both categories.
Goalkeeper Kayla Scully played all but 36 seconds in net, allowing 10 of the Terriers’ goals and making 10 saves. She was pulled in favor of an extra player for the other time, and the Terriers scored once on the empty net.
One game remains on BU’s regular-season and conference schedule, which will take place next weekend at Binghamton University. The Terriers will look to go undefeated in conference play before the America East Tournament May 3 and 5 at Nickerson Field.