In its final nonconference games of the regular season, the Boston University field hockey team left a weekend homestand with a series split.
The Terriers (11-6, 4-1 Patriot League) began play this weekend series Friday against the University of California. The Bears (6-10) came into the contest having lost five of their last six, while BU coasted into the game having won its last two contests.
The Terriers scored early and often in the first half, posting three goals in the first 20 minutes of play. Sophomore midfielder Sofi Laurito and senior backer Ysi Schieb both scored off of corners inserted by freshman midfielder Hester van der Laan. BU’s final goal also came courtesy of van der Laan, this time on a penalty stroke. These four points pushed her season total up to 13.
“[Van der Laan] is a great two-way player,” said BU coach Sally Starr. “She plays with a lot of energy, a lot of intensity and she’s got the highest work rate on the team. Exciting things happen defensively and offensively when she’s around the ball.”
In the second half, BU eased up on offense and got complacent several times on the defensive end. Junior goalkeeper Valentina Cerda Eimbcke came up with some spectacular saves to preserve a 3-1 Terrier victory. Despite playing sluggishly in the second half, BU boasted a stat sheet with zero Cal attack penalty corners.
“We definitely controlled the play much more in the first half,” Starr said. “We moved the ball better and we played better in the first half. They started to stretch us a little more defensively in the second half, and then we forgot to play attack. We still were able to generate a lot of good scoring opportunities, their goalie had to come up with some really good saves.”
“In particular, I’m very pleased we did not give up one penalty corner. Cal’s a very good attacking team, and not to give up one corner is an outstanding job by our defense.”
The Terriers went on to face a tougher test in No. 8 Duke University in the second game of the weekend slate. The Blue Devils (13-4) boasted a plus-21 goal differential coming into the game.
Both teams started off hot, with one goal for each team coming within the first seven minutes. Blue Devils forward Cherry Seaborn scored off a rebound, while Laurito netted a slick backhand shot off the upper crossbar to tie the game up at one apiece. Duke answered back quickly in the 15th minute with a deflection from forward Emmie Le Marchand.
“[Laurito] came up really big in the first half,” Starr said. “All the midfielders attacked really well. But I think the reason why they played so well in the first half is because we got the field spread well. We’re moving the ball well, we’re getting the ball to the open pockets of the field, and they really have space to really use their skill and their speed.”
Facing a 2-1 deficit going into the second half, the Terriers gave themselves an opportunity to stay in the game. Early in the period, junior forward Nell Burdis caught a breakaway chance to knot the game back up, but missed an open cage on the backhand try. Le Marchand went on to score again, giving the Blue Devils a 3-1 advantage the rest of the way.
“We had a couple missed chances, not just [Burdis], a couple other players,” Starr said. “We’re close, we’re generating the scoring opportunities. We really need to look at and figure out a way to practice better finishing those scoring opportunities. We’re creating some really good offense. Two on a goalie against Duke, that’s pretty good, but you got to be able to score that. It’s good but it’s not good enough, because pretty passing and pretty play doesn’t give you a point and it doesn’t give you a win.”
Although the Terriers sustained a tough loss, BU can take solace in clinching the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Patriot League Tournament. No. 1 seed American University will host the tournament which begins play Nov. 8.