Hot off its first win of the season against Lafayette College, the Boston University men’s lacrosse team will travel down to Lewisburg, Pa., to take on Bucknell University at Christy-Mathewson Memorial Stadium Saturday afternoon.
The Terriers (1-6, 1-2 Patriot League) look to even out their conference record and continue their stint of playing well and on par with their competitors when they face the Bison (4-4, 2-2 Patriot League) this weekend.
“[Bucknell is] a very high quality team, and certainly it’s going to be a challenge,” said BU coach Ryan Polley. “They’re extremely talented offensively, and they’re historically great defensively, so it’ll be a really tough game for us, but we’re looking forward to the challenge and building off the momentum of our first win.”
Despite losing three consecutive games, including one to No. 6 University of North Carolina by a score of 20-4 on March 11, Bucknell seems to have been able to steer itself back on track, notching 18 goals in its game against the College of the Holy Cross for its third win of the season last weekend. Wednesday, the team strung together its second win in a row with a 13-8 home victory over Brown University.
An enormous part of this squad’s offense, attack Sean Doyle, a regular starter for Bucknell, is the Bison’s scoring leader, tallying 26 points through nine on 14 goals and 12 assists. Doyle’s efforts have earned him a spot among the Patriot League’s top scorers, as he is tied for second in assists per game with a 1.71 average. The sophomore is also sixth in points per game with 3.29.
During his freshman campaign, he recorded 27 goals and 15 assists for 42 total points in his 14 games as a starter. Doyle scored in each of his 14 games last season and earned Patriot League Rookie of the Year honors for his efforts.
This season, he has scored at least once in all but one contest, registering six multi-goal games for the Bison, including a four-goal game against the U.S. Naval Academy on Feb. 22 and a three-goal outing versus Brown (3-3).
Doyle is not the only player making noise in the Bison lineup, though. Fellow starters junior David Dickson, senior Todd Heritage and sophomore Thomas Flibotte have a combined 47 points among them on 35 goals and 12 assists. Heritage himself has nine goals in his last two games.
“Thinking about it on paper, this is probably the most explosive offense we’ve seen so far,” Polley said. “We’ll have to really step up defensively and play a good game to hold these guys down.”
With freshman attack Pat Myers out due to injury, defense will not be the sole focus of the weekend for BU. Myers tops the Terrier score sheet with points with 15 on seven goals and eight assists. He held the lead in goals until classmate and fellow attack Ryan Johnston overtook him with his eighth and ninth tallies over the past two weeks. The win on Saturday against Lafayette (1-5, 1-3 Patriot League), however, put some of BU’s offensive concerns to bed as other players, like Johnston, stepped up to impressive degrees.
The biggest thing though, according to Polley, was moving Patriot League Rookie of the Week, freshman midfielder Cal Dearth, up to the first line last weekend, where he recorded two goals and four assists.
“He primarily had been doing everything for us but not playing offense,” Polley said of Dearth. “He plays a ton of [defense/midfield] for us and … We pretty much took away the [defense/midfield] role from him and moved him to our first line, and he helped tremendously.”
Polley said there are elements from the win that he wants his team to bring into the tilt this weekend, namely transition goals, which are what helped the Terriers in their first victory.
“We’ve been struggling scoring in transition, we’ve created a few opportunities that we either haven’t recognized, haven’t scored on or turned the ball over,” Polley said. “We maybe scored four or five transition goals [against Lafayette], which really makes all the difference in the world for scoring.
“We’ve been averaging six-and-a-half goals. To be able to get to 12, because it’s hard to score 6-on-6, those five transition goals went a long way to being able to score over 10 goals, and we’re looking to capitalize if we can create those opportunities again.”