The Boston University field hockey team picked up two victories this past weekend as it moves closer to postseason play.
The Terriers (10-5, 4-1 Patriot League) began the weekend at New Balance Field against Bucknell University Saturday, which started the game ranked second in the Patriot League. The Bison (7-8, 4-1 Patriot League) came in having a plus-8 goal differential in their previous five games.
Looking to control the tempo from the first whistle, BU began the game with deft passing that generated quality opportunities for its scorers. The Terriers attacked the net aggressively in the first opening minutes of play, resulting in a third-minute goal.
After stealing the ball in the Bison end, senior midfielder Madeleine Hackett fired a liner into the circle where freshman forwards Taylor Blood and Amanda Cassera were in position in front of the cage.
Blood received the pass off the stick of a Bucknell defender and set up an easy shot for Cassera, who pushed the ball past goalkeeper Erica Perrinie. The score marked Blood’s second assist of the season and Cassera’s eighth goal.
“The young strikers are really not young anymore,” said BU coach Sally Starr. “They’ve had a lot of game experience now and they’re really showing that they have that game experience … They want the season to go as deep as it can for the seniors, and they know they play a big role in this team for that to happen so they’re really working hard to improve.”
BU’s second goal came quickly to start the second half after earning a penalty corner. Freshman midfielder Hester van der Laan inserted a smooth ball to sophomore backer Rachel Coll, who set up a shot for senior backer Ysi Schieb. Schieb took a shot that resulted in a deflection off of the stick of senior forward Nell Burdis and goal near the far post, giving the Terriers all they would need in a 2-0 victory.
“I think [junior goalkeeper Valentina Cerda Eimbcke] came up big in the first half for us to keep them off the scoreboard,” Starr said. “But in the second half, I think we really took control of the game, we pressed better, we outleted better. We were just really moving the ball well and making good circle penetration.”
The Terriers looked to keep the momentum going Sunday on the road against cross-town rival Northeastern University. The Huskies (5-9) came into the contest having lost seven of their last nine, giving up 23 goals in that span.
Noticeably weary to start the game, BU generated only one shot attempt in the first 13 minutes of the contest. As the game progressed, however, the Terriers rediscovered their form from the previous day.
BU pounded the cage with shots late in the first half, and finally converted off the red-hot stick of Burdis again. Following a shot from Coll saved by Husky goalkeeper Becky Gardner, the ball bounced directly in front of the cage, giving Burdis a tap-in for the rebound goal. This score marked Burdis’ third straight game with a goal and the longest Terrier goal streak of the season.
“[Burdis] starting to become a goal-scorer is absolutely huge for us,” Starr said. “And they’ve all been quality goals. She’s in the right place at the right time, she’s calm and she has great composure in front of the net. Her coming on as a goal-scorer is really good and we’re looking forward to that continuing.”
After a torrid offensive start to the second half by Northeastern, the Terriers rebounded and made the most of an early opportunity. BU earned an attack penalty corner after a touch from the foot of a Northeastern player inside the circle. Schieb received the ball, following the insert from van der Laan, and set up a strike for Coll, who drove the ball just past the pad of Gardner and into the cage. With the assist, Schieb’s season total climbs to seven, while Coll netted her first goal of the year.
“It wasn’t a pretty hockey game, but it was a game that was a really good quality win for us,” Starr said. “We fought hard, we were definitely tired from the day before, it was a very emotional and physical victory we had against Bucknell.”
The win against Bucknell Saturday moves BU into the number-two spot in the Patriot League standings with one conference game left to play. The Bison will face American University Saturday to determine the regular season champion and the number one seed in the upcoming Patriot League Tournament.
“It’s our last back-to-back [series] before the conference tournament,” Starr said. “To win the Patriot League Championship, we have to win a game on Friday then win a game on Saturday. It’s one of our last opportunities to be in a dress rehearsal for the conference tournament. Northeastern wasn’t easy … and we needed to find a way to create some quality hockey, and I think they responded really well in the second half.”