The struggles the No. 19 Boston University field hockey team endured over the weekend should not have come as much of a surprise considering the team’s lack of offense leading up to this home series, in which BU went 1-1.
To start the season, the Terriers (4-2) defeated Ohio University 5-1, thanks in large part to a hat trick from freshman forward Amanda Cassera against the Bobcats (2-4).
The very next day, offensive struggles landed BU in its first overtime contest of the season against the University of Delaware. The Terriers trailed the entire game but a goal with 4:21 remaining in regulation by sophomore midfielder Sofi Laurito saved the team. Freshman midfielder Hester van der Laan would go on to lift BU past Delaware (5-1) with a goal three minutes into overtime.
Since the opening weekend, BU has struggled to get the ball in the net. During the opening weekend, the Terriers outscored opponents 7-2. In their next four games, they were outscored 6-4.
The worst loss in that batch came against Northwestern University last weekend, where poor playing conditions and injuries severely limited the Terriers’ ability to play well against a tough opponent.
The second loss of the season for the Terriers came at the hands of No. 17 Boston College Friday evening.
Through the first half, BU’s scoring opportunities were scarce, especially in comparison to the Eagles (5-1). By the end of the first half, BU trailed in shots 10-4 and 6-1 in penalty corners, but because of great work from junior goalkeeper Valentina Cerda Eimbcke, the teams went into the half knotted at zero.
“That’s a tribute to the corner defense, not to break,” said BU coach Sally Starr. “Corner defense has been a strength for us all season and into tonight it kept us in the game, as did Valentina who played really well tonight, again.”
BU came out in the second half as a much more aggressive side, earning four corners in the first 10 minutes. Unfortunately for the Terriers, bad decisions close to the net led to either poor shots or costly turnovers.
BC went on to score the deciding goal in the 61st minute, as the Terriers took their second loss of the season.
Two days later against Providence College, it was more of the same for the stagnant BU offense.
Providence (3-3), BU’s second ranked opponent of the year, entered the game looking to make a statement, and was able to do just that by getting on the board first in the fourth minute.
BU’s inability to score was easy to point out in the first half, as they led Providence in corners 6-4 but failed to find the back of the net on each one.
“I think we survived the first half,” Starr said. “I was not proud of the way we played in the first half. I think it was really chippy and we were taken out of our game in the first half. I talked at halftime about controlling the controllable and leaving things such as the officiating.”
Starr’s halftime encouragement propelled the Terriers forward in the second half. Within a few minutes, BU earned its seventh corner and junior midfielder Anne Fruitema fired a shot from the top of the circle that was too hard for Providence goalkeeper Diedra Clymer to handle and bounced right into the top of the net.
Following Fruitema’s goal, the BU offense once again regressed, as the lack of offense for the Terriers in the last few weeks was on display in the final five minutes of regulation. With a five-minute penalty going to Providence and then another two-minute penalty going against the Terriers — creating a 6 v. 4 situation to end the game — BU could not capitalize and pull ahead.
Luckily for BU, a few miscues from Providence and some great goalkeeping by Eimbcke kept them in the game, giving the offense a chance to steal the game in overtime.
“We had some scoring chances in particular the second half, with balls going across the face of the goal that just needed to be touched in,” Starr said following BU’s overtime victory over Providence. “Two things, and we talked about this at halftime, when we get into our attacking third we get stupid, we’re not building like we do in the other two thirds and we’re just not finishing.”