The No. 16 Boston University field hockey team capped off its opening weekend at New Balance Field with an exciting 2–1 overtime victory against the University of Delaware.
“Quite honestly, if we had lost today, I would not have been dissatisfied with this team because I really just felt that for a young team, we did a lot of things really well,” said BU coach Sally Starr.
Unlike their first game of the season against Ohio University, the Terriers (2-0) came out of the gates pressuring Delaware (1-1), trying to get some early scoring opportunities. BU did exactly that within the first minute by earning a corner, but failed to capitalize.
During the eighth minute, BU senior backer Ysi Schieb and Delaware midfielder Michaela Patzner ran the ball deep into BU territory and, unfortunately for the Terriers, Patzner was able to knock the ball into the net before junior goalie Valentina Cerda Eimbcke could make a save attempt.
The Terriers attempted to respond quickly and had a corner in the 12th minute, but the shot by sophomore backer Katie Bernatchez was saved by Delaware goalie Heather Hartman. The rebound and resulting outlet pass by the Blue Hens created a fast break for Delaware that forced Eimbcke to go one-on-one with forward Toni Popinko. Eimbcke was able to make an impressive stop, keeping the Delaware lead at one.
About six minutes later, the Terriers faced a scary moment following another flashy pair of saves by Eimbcke. Bernatchez fell to the turf and held her head in pain. With all of the commotion in front of the goal, she had been hit in the head. After being looked at by trainers on the field, she was helped off of the field by the trainer and would remain on the sidelines for the rest of the game.
“It’s a concussion,” Starr said. “ I would be shocked if we get her back for next weekend. Our backfield is really depleted — it was shallow to start with — and we didn’t have many reserves to begin with.”
The remaining 20 minutes of the first half were uneventful, as BU and Delaware turned the ball over to one another. Every so often, the Terriers would be able to get the ball into Delaware territory and get a shot off, but in most cases, the chances would not come close to the net.
By the end of the first half, Delaware’s one point lead remained intact, although BU outshot the Blue Hens 9-4.
BU came out of halftime like a different team, making crisp passes and moving the ball well. Unfortunately, the Terriers continued to miss the net and sent shots both wide and high of the goal.
In the 57th minute the Terriers began to play with urgency, and after getting the ball into Delaware territory, Starr called a timeout to make some changes and try to come up with a play that could help the Terriers tie the game.
“We went into a more aggressive state after that timeout,” Starr said. “I think that puts a little bit of a pop in your step when you know that you’re in an attack mode, pushed some people up through the midfield, made a more aggressive press, and it worked.”
The changes worked, as BU was able to get some more shots off than they had earlier in the game. With 4:21 left in regulation, they were finally able to break through as sophomore forward Sofi Laurito nailed a falling backhand shot to tie the game.
BU kept the aggression going into overtime and it was not too long until another freshman came up big for the Terriers. On Saturday, freshman forward Amanda Cassera recorded a hat trick in her first career game and Monday it was her classmate, midfielder Hester van der Laan scoring her first career goal, which was also the game-winning goal for the Terriers.
“We knew that this class was going to be a nucleus class for us as we came onto New Balance Field,” Starr said. “We’ve got a lot of talent. The future is bright for BU field hockey.”