BU offense enters potential postseason with potent offense

The No. 15 Boston University field hockey team found its offensive rhythm recently, scoring 12 goals in its final three games and ended the season by dominating its last few opponents. The Terriers scored almost a third of their total goals on the season in the final 210 minutes of the season.

This dominance was put on display on Saturday in a game against Fairfield University (10–9, 1–4 America East). BU (12–6, 4–1 America East) defeated the Stags 6–2, with goals coming from four different players and from all positions except goalkeeper.

Junior midfielder Ella Gunson scored twice, making herself the team’s leading scorer. Senior forward Tabi Hatch had two as well. Senior defender Kiley Allosso converted once for her second goal of the season, while freshman forward Sofi Laurito chipped in and scored an unassisted goal for the second game in a row.

BU did not just dominate the scoreboard, but it won the shot battle with Fairfield too by a total of 19–10.

“[Our success] is just a lot of hard work finally coming together,” said BU coach Sally Starr. “We made the extra pass. We weren’t shooting at the goalie. We were really getting around the goalie, moving [her]. We had players in good scoring spots.”

For a team that initially struggled to convert on its scoring chances, this dramatic shift revealed its growth on the attack.

When the season began, goals were a luxury. The Terriers nearly always held the ball in the attacking zone more than their opponents, even in games they lost, but they consistently converted only around 14 percent of all of their attempts at the net.

In early September, this issue was a major factor in practice. Starr worked her forwards and midfielders heavily and it appears to have worked.

“[Their] attempts just had to convert,” Starr said.

In both of their closing home games, the Terriers’ conversion rate was greater than 20 percent.

“We’ve been working on it and working on it and working on it,” Starr said. “We’re finishing really well [now].”

Such a change in offensive presence was, in part, due to the play of Gunson. Against Fairfield University last Saturday she had two of the team’s six goals, and against No. 10 Northeastern University she had three of the team’s four goals in BU’s victory.

She finished the regular season as BU’s leading scorer with nine goals.

However, Gunson was not the only reason for the offensive growth. A vital part of the Terrier attack was depth. Over the span of 18 games, 11 players scored at least once. Seven of the team’s 39 goals came from senior defender Jacinda McLeod, the second most of any Terrier this season.

“I’m very proud of the way this team has played and developed,” Starr said. “The range of talent across classes promises future progress as well. With Terriers from each class contributing to the attack, there is less of a burden in losing the seniors to graduation.”

The team should be well-prepared to lose five of its seniors after this season, as the underclassmen account for just under half of all goals scored.

“What I liked about the seniors this year was they really gave everything,” Starr said. “They are a vital part of the team … but our depth is what makes us, and will continue to make us, a force not to be messed with.”

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