Coming off a dominant 21-12 victory against Binghamton University, the Boston University women’s lacrosse team will look to continue its high-scoring ways against the University of New Hampshire Wednesday afternoon in Durham, N.H.
The Terriers (5-6, 2-2 America East) appear to have successfully solved their offensive issues from earlier this season, as they have scored at least 20 goals in their last two games.
While BU seems to have turned around its season with a two-game winning streak, UNH (4-9, 1-3 America East) is currently bogged down in a two-game losing streak, as the Wildcats have struggled with scoring as of late.
“They’re fighting to get into the conference tournament and we’re one of the teams that they are looking to beat in order to do that,” said BU coach Liz Robertshaw.
It has been a tough year for the Wildcats, as they are currently tied for last in the America East standings with Binghamton University and the University of Vermont.
The biggest reason for UNH’s struggles this year lies in the team’s offensive woes. The Wildcats are currently sixth amongst America East teams in both goals per game (10.08) and points per game (15.00). The Wildcats have also had issues with offensive possession, as they are currently last in the conference in draw controls per game (10.62).
Over its last four games, UNH has only averaged 7.75 goals per game.
While the Wildcats offense has had issues, UNH still has two players to look out for in senior Jenny Simpson and freshman Laura McHoul.
Simpson leads the Wildcats with 39 points, including 35 goals, on the season, while McHoul is second with 38 points. Simpson is currently 10th in the conference in points per game (3.00), while McHoul is ranked third in America East in assists per game (1.92).
While they do not score as often as other America East teams, the Wildcats do fare much better on the defensive side of the game, as UNH is fourth in the conference in goals-against average (11.06).
Despite UNH’s struggles this season, BU coach Liz Robertshaw expects a tough battle Wednesday. “We’re going to find a really aggressive team in UNH,” Robertshaw said. “They’ve been gaining confidence over the past few games and they want to come in and get after us both on the attacking end and defensively.”
After averaging just nine goals per game over four contests from March 20 to April 3, the Terrier offense has come alive in its last two matchups against the University of Vermont and Binghamton (2-9, 1-3 America East), scoring 20 goals against the Catamounts (6-9, 1-3 America East) and 21 goals against the Bearcats.
Senior attack Danielle Etrasco has been huge for the Terriers over their winning streak, scoring 13 goals and recording two assists in the two contests. For her efforts, Etrasco was named America East Offensive Player of the Week, the second time she has received the honor this year.
Freshman midfielder Sofia Robins also had a huge game against the Bearcats, scoring three points off of a goal and two assists and was awarded the America East Rookie of the Week for her performance.
For the Terriers to continue their success on offense, Robertshaw said she thinks the team needs to continue taking chances and creating its own opportunities to score.
“They’ve been taking more risks to cage and I think you’re seeing Danielle lead them by going to cage herself,” Robertshaw said. “We’ve seen a lot of nice plays from a lot of different players on our attacking end and I think that allows us to gain more confidence.”
The last time the Terriers and Wildcats faced off was April 4 of last year, when BU defeated UNH 13-8, thanks to four-goal games from both sophomore attack Mallory Collins and then-senior attack Molly Swain.
This game marks the 34th meeting between the two teams. The Terriers currently lead the all-time series with a 22-12 record against the Wildcats.
For Robertshaw, the biggest key to a win Wednesday lies in the team’s ability to dictate the game.
“We just have to go out there and play our style of lacrosse and be aggressive on attack,” Robertshaw said. “We have to get the shot opportunities that we want, and really look to hold UNH to a lower scoring game.”