The Boston University women’s lacrosse team’s season came to a surprising end Thursday afternoon when the Terriers fell 15-9 to the University at Albany in the America East semifinals at Nickerson Field.
Albany only won three more draw controls than the Terriers, but built slow possessions when it took control of the ball, content to pass it from Great Dane to Great Dane with an occasional drive into the fan to check an opening.
“I just don’t think we had the ball enough,” said BU coach Liz Robertshaw.
The end result was a Terrier (11-6, 6-0 America East) defense working to limit as many perfect opportunities as possible when the attacking unit had to wait and watch for the occasional opportunity at the ball.
“You’re playing long defensive sets,” Robertshaw said. “I think Albany does a really god job of possessing the ball and even when we go out and put some pressure on them and they take it to cage they found some looks we weren’t marking well.”
The Terriers also found trouble with a number of yellow cards in a crucial Albany (11-5, 3-3 America East) scoring stretch that put the game away for the Great Danes. The officiating crew sent junior defender Brittany Carlin off at 19:17, sophomore defender Christie Hart off at 19:01 and sophomore midfielder Sydney Godett off at 17:59 on yellow cards. Overall, BU was called for 24 fouls compared to Albany’s 11.
“I was surprised they were yellow cards, let me put it that way,” Robertshaw said. “We were being a little bit overly aggressive, but I was a little bit surprised they turned into yellow cards, which turned into goals for them.”
The first half began with an Albany goal from attack Rachael Burek assisted by midfielder Ariana Parker just over five minutes into the game, with BU not responding until junior attack Danielle Etrasco scored unassisted fewer than six minutes later. The Burek-Parker pairing scored next for Albany before the Terriers rattled off two goals to take the lead, their only scoring streak of the half.
Both teams exchanged goals over the next 12 minutes, until the Great Danes scored twice in the final minute of the half to take the lead back, 6-5. The two goals, scored with 44 seconds remaining and 11 seconds remaining, were the two fastest goals Albany scored the entire game.
Senior attack Molly Swain scored only 28 seconds into the second half to tie the game once again. But then Albany won the ensuing draw and took the game over. The Great Danes scored six unanswered goals from 28:06 to 18:13, the shortest time between goals being 1:01 from the second-to-last goal of the run to the last one.
Swain, assisted by freshman attack and America East Rookie of the Year Mallory Collins, finally stopped the bleeding with a goal at 14:53, cutting the Great Danes’ lead to five. But at a time when BU needed a quick goal to make a return in the game, it was unable to get one. Albany scored at 10:27, burning time and rebuilding its lead.
The Terriers tallied a pair of goals at 7:17 and 6:43 to cut the lead down to four, but BU could not pull any closer. Attack Amanda Pollock scored the final two goals of the game for Albany with no one in goal for BU, maintaining the Great Dane lead at six.
Both Etrasco and Swain led BU with three goals apiece, while Etrasco and Collins each had one assist to make up the Terriers’ total of two. Sophomore goalkeeper Christina Sheridan played 34:46 in goal, making only one save while allowing nine goals. Junior goalkeeper Kim Elsworth replaced her, allowing six goals and making two saves.
Three Great Danes – Burek, Pollock and midfielder Mel Rorie – scored four times. Parker finished with two goals and five assists. Sophomore Anna Berman played the whole game in goal, making four saves total, three in the second half.
With the loss came the end of the BU seniors’ careers, something that was tough for Robertshaw to swallow.
“I’m most disappointed for the seniors because you don’t want to go out this way, but no one wants to lose,” Robertshaw said. “On the flip side, I’m really proud of the senior class and where they’ve gotten this team. I know we lost, you know, in the semifinals, but I was happy that this team got us back on track, from a team standpoint of winning the regular season championship and kind of setting the standard and path of where we need to be in the future.”