Freshman forward Amanda Cassera of the Boston University field hockey team received Patriot League Rookie of the Week honors after a two-goal effort against Lehigh University Saturday.
The Fairfield, N.J. native tallied her sixth and seventh goals of the season while facing the Mountain Hawks (3-11, 0-3 Patriot League), scoring once in each half to help the Terriers (8-5, 3-1 Patriot League) to a 3-1 win.
Cassera also rifled off a team-high six shots, five on goal, over the course of the weekend and is coming into her own as an offensive powerhouse.
“I think Amanda Cassera is getting better and better every game,” said BU coach Sally Starr. “She’s really turning into a very dangerous striker through the midfield as well as in the scoring circle.”
This is the second time Cassera has earned a weekly award, as she was named Patriot League Player of the Week Sept. 3 for her hat-trick performance against Ohio University during the team’s first home game at New Balance Field.
“Our young strikers … [are] really beginning to play some really very good hockey, some very, very good attacking hockey, which bodes well for our future,” Starr said.
Freshman and Sophomore Firepower Propels Terriers
With 13 of the 23 roster spots occupied by underclassmen, Cassera is not the only young player impacting the success of this young and promising BU squad.
Contributions from the likes of freshman midfielder Hester van der Laan (three goals, two assists) and sophomore midfielder Sofi Laurito (five goals) among others have helped the Terriers to begin to find their offensive rhythm.
“We knew this class was going to be special coming in,” Starr said. “We really felt that they had a lot of talent, a lot of athleticism and I think, developmentally, we just really love how they’re coming along. They’re also a great group of kids.
“They’re working hard, they’re listening, our upperclassmen are doing a great job leading them. I think that they’re just getting better and better every week and that’s what we’re trying to do right now.”
All three of BU’s goals Saturday were notched by freshmen, and two of them were assisted by freshmen as well. The first was scored by forward Sara Martineau in the eighth minute of play on a pass from van der Laan. The second and third were both scored by Cassera, one in the 21st minute, assisted by freshman fullback Bea Baumberger Altirriba, and the other unassisted in the 40th minute.
Martineau, van der Laan, Cassera and Laurito also led the team in shots on goal against the Mountain Hawks with three apiece.
BU falls to fourth ranked opponent of the season
Sunday afternoon, the Terriers lost a hard-fought game to then-No. 4 University of Connecticut. UConn (12-1) became the fourth ranked opponent to defeat BU on the season, with close loses earlier in the year coming against then-No. 17 Boston College, No. 13 University of Massachusetts-Amherst and then-No. 11 Northwestern University.
In the battle against BC (10-2), the Terriers fell in a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to their Commonwealth Avenue rivals. The game was scoreless for most of the contest, but junior goalkeeper Valentina Cerda Eimbcke was not able to come up with a save against midfielder Emma Plasteras in the 61st minute. Despite a strong nine-save effort from Eimbcke in that contest, the Terriers fell to the Eagles.
Sunday, BU was able to stifle the Huskies through almost the entirety of the first half, only relenting on a questionable goal in the 35th minute of play off a penalty corner.
“That shot has to hit the boards, the initial shot on goal, and the ball was clearly too high coming off the stick, and unfortunately, the goal was not overturned by the officials,” Starr said. “So that was unfortunate because we were playing really well. [It] should have been 0-0 going into halftime.”
UConn quickly made it 2-0 in the first 10 minutes of the second half and then piled it on, as they scored three more. The Terriers’ lone goal came in the 68th minute when junior forward Nell Burdis scored her first of the season.
“We played an outstanding first half … an outstanding job against one of the top teams in the country, a very explosive attacking team,” Starr said. “What we learned from that first half in particular was that when we’re putting it all together, we’re capable of playing with some of the top teams in the country, and that’s what we just have to keep building on right now.
“[The first half] was a really good measurement for us as to where we are right now, and then obviously we really need to look at why we struggled so much in the second half … so we can prepare for next weekend against Bucknell [University].”