The Boston University women’s lacrosse team will play its first game of the fall at the Beanpot Tournament in Cambridge on Sunday.
The local tournament kicks off a fall exhibition schedule of three tournaments and an alumni game. The tournament has grown in recent years, and many talented teams from the area, including Colgate University, Harvard University, 2012 national runners-up Syracuse University and rival Boston College, will be competing.
The Terriers will face Colgate, Syracuse and Boston College as they look to carry over their success from last season. BU finished the 2011–12 season with an overall record of 11–6, with a regular season conference record of 6–0. However, its season abruptly came to an end as they were stunned by the University at Albany in the America East semifinals.
In spite of last season’s disappointing elimination, BU coach Liz Robertshaw says she has confidence in this year’s team.
“It’s early, but I think we’re seeing a lot of players coming back with a lot of confidence, so in that way I think we’ve improved,” Robertshaw said. “A lot of our sophomores and juniors are coming back and really feeling comfortable in the game. I think any time that happens you’re going to look better. If that can continue to progress, I think that’ll be good.”
Senior attack Danielle Etrasco will likely lead the Terriers again this season as she aims to match her stellar 2011–12 performance, which earned her Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Associaton All-American and IWLCA Northeast All-Region First Team honors. Her 80 points on 58 goals and 22 assists were second best in America East behind Stony Brook University’s Claire Petersen.
“[Etrasco has been] playing really well,” Robertshaw said. “She’s just had a phenomenal fall. We’re going to see her game continue to grow, and I think she’s doing a really nice job of finding the net and being a really good goal scorer. Obviously a lot of eyes are going to be on her. All of our opponents know about her.”
Robertshaw also said she anticipates a large contribution from sophomore attack Mallory Collins, the 2012 America East Rookie of the Year. In 2011, she led all America East rookies with 53 points on 45 goals, averaging 2.81 goals per game.
“She just came back in really good shape,” Robertshaw said. “She’s playing really well. I see her very confident, comfortable with the ball and able to make big plays.”
The team is also playing with seven freshmen, and Robertshaw said she is impressed with their maturity, confidence and calm nature.
“I’m excited about a lot of the freshmen. We have [midfielder] Ally Adams who’s coming to us from Maryland, she’s showing some nice play. Sofia Robins is a defender for us, she’s already fitting into our defensive schemes really well. She’s really confident, really comfortable, coming up with big-time ground balls,” Robertshaw said.“We’re trying to get [the freshmen] comfortable with our schemes, attack-wise and with our defensive set.
“We really use this as that sort of building tool to get the freshmen and sophomores more playing time and get them more comfortable on the field.”
Robertshaw acknowledged that Sunday’s tournament will be challenging, but looks forward to seeing how her team handles the task.
“I don’t think we’re going to get any easy games,” Robertshaw said. “I think when you’re facing the national runner-up and a good BC team that has most of their leading scorers coming back, it’s going to be a tough day.
“It is something where we’re looking at the team, we’re seeing who is processing the information we’re teaching them. If the freshmen can come in and be goal scorers and not hide, which is something freshmen tend to do in the fall, I think we’re setting ourselves up well.”
CORRECTION: The original version of this article called Syracuse University the 2012 national champion. However, Syracuse lost to Northwestern University in the 2012 national championship game, giving Northwestern its seventh national title in the last eight years.