With its win over Bucknell Saturday, the Boston University field hockey team secured itself a spot in the Patriot League Tournament, currently tied with Bucknell for second place with matching 4-1 Patriot League records. First place is in the sole possession of American University, which is 10-4 overall and sports a pristine 4-0 record in Patriot League play.
“It’s always in the back of your mind that you’re really working hard all season to contend for the Patriot League Championship,” said BU coach Sally Starr. “But the first thing you need to do is get one of the four spots to be able to compete … so it’s nice to know that that’s in the bag now.”
The Terriers (10-5, 4-1 Patriot League) defeated Bucknell University (7-8, 4-1) by a score of 2-0 on Saturday and repeated the feat against Northeastern University Sunday.
As BU’s inaugural season in the Patriot League winds down, its success is certainly encouraging. In five league contests, the Terriers have only lost once, falling to American in overtime after holding the Eagles scoreless through regulation.
“Obviously I’d love to have that American [University] game back because we want to have the opportunity to host,” Starr said. “Bucknell plays American next weekend, which can create a three-way tie for first if they can beat American.
“Now we’re just continuing to work hard to be the best team we can be for that weekend, for that conference tournament,” Starr said. “And that means getting better every day in practice and getting better every competitive opportunity that we have.”
The Terriers will finalize their regular season and Patriot League records at home in the following two weeks, as they will face the University of California and No. 8 Duke University this weekend and Lafayette College the weekend after.
Valentina Cerda Eimbcke named Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week
Following two impressive shutout performances this weekend, junior goalkeeper Valentina Cerda Eimbcke earned the Patriot League’s Goalkeeper of the Week honors for the third time this season. Her previous two nods came in the first and third weeks of September.
Eimbcke and the Terriers blanked Bucknell University in a four-save contest Saturday and closed the door on Northeastern (5-9) with five saves in Sunday’s game, both by final scores of 2-0.
“She’s had a great year and [is] consistently playing well,” Starr said.. “She’s confident in her play. She’s been working really hard … she’s just very calm and composed, and she is really having an excellent year as a goalie and coming up with big saves when we need big saves.”
The junior now leads the Patriot League in shutouts and goals-against average with four and 1.30, respectively, and has the second-best save percentage in the league with .789.
Passing game key to BU’s success
The Terriers have looked particularly masterful at executing their passes, moving with ease up and down the field and beginning to take control of games. Starr noted that the team has been paying particular attention to this crucial aspect of play.
“We’ve really been working on that,” Starr said. “Really working on our off-ball positioning, and our shape, and really making sure that we have structure around the ball so that the player with the ball has some really good either-or options.
“We really thought that we needed to get our midfield line connecting well with our strikers, and I think we’ve been very good at connecting our back line again with our midfield. But that next step of getting what we call ‘positive play in our attacking third of the field’ was not consistent, and I think that that’s a part of our game that is beginning to get much, much better and … [we’re] really creating dangerous play going into our circle.”
Picking up three wins in its past four games, BU’s offense has clearly benefitted from this increased focus, notching eight total goals and outshooting its opponents 60 to 40 in those four bouts.