Coming off a 9-8 win over the U.S. Naval Academy this past Saturday, the Boston University women’s lacrosse team will take on Yale University in a non-conference home game at Nickerson Field Wednesday afternoon.
Although BU (3-5, 3-0 Patriot League) had a shaky beginning to the season, losing its first four games, the team remains undefeated in the Patriot League and has won three out of its last four contests. The Terriers have edged Navy (9-1, 3-1 Patriot League), American University by a 12-11 score and beat the College of the Holy Cross in an 8-6 contest.
The team’s five losses have come from four nationally ranked squads — No. 1 University of North Carolina, No. 2/3 University of Maryland, No. 10/11 University of Massachusetts-Amherst and No. 14 Johns Hopkins University. Road games have not been kind to BU this year, as all of the Terriers’ losses have come away from Nickerson Field.
Yale (5-2) has been a bit more successful this season, winning its first five games of the year, but dropping its last two. The team will be looking for its first win since March 7, where they defeated Quinnipiac University 15-8. Within the Ivy League in 2014, the Bulldogs have posted a 1-2 record.
The two teams met last season, and the Terriers defeated the Bulldogs in a close 16-15 affair. The game began in BU’s favor, with the Terriers holding a 14-6 lead. However, Yale came back to almost win the game after five goals each from then-freshman Nicole Deangillis and then-senior Devon Rhodes.
Overall, BU is 6-11 all-time games against Yale. However, in the last six years, the Terriers have been able to walk away victorious five times against the Bulldogs, including three consecutive wins.
“We need to play a really great game tomorrow,” said BU coach Liz Robertshaw. “This Yale team is very veteran-heavy and very confident. They’re having one of their best years right now, we need to make sure we bring strong defense and try to limit their shooting.”
Part of the reason for the Terriers’ success in the past four games has been because of stout defensive play. BU’s defense was strong during last week’s contests against Holy Cross (5-6, 3-1 Patriot League) and Navy, holding the Crusaders scoreless for over 32 minutes, while fighting off Navy for the last eight minutes of play.
“Our defense last week was instrumental, they were awesome,” Robertshaw said. “They held down some of the nations leading scorers, which was clutch and gave us opportunities on attack. It brought confidence that the entire team fed off of.”
To lead the defense, freshman goalkeeper Caroline Meegan stepped up tremendously to help get BU into the win column. Meegan has started the last seven games, making 10 saves in the contest versus the Midshipmen. In her first year, she holds a .415 save percentage and an 11.02 goals-against average.
“Meegan is much more confident and commanding on the field,” Robertshaw said. “She has gained more experience since the beginning of the season and is seeing the ball better on free position shots. I’m excited to see what else she can do.”
The goalie was honored with a Patriot League Rookie of the Week award for her performance last week, along with senior defender Christie Hart, who received Defensive Player of the Week, and sophomore midfielder Jill Horka who won Midfield Player of the Week.
“These players really stood out this past week,” Roberstshaw said. “Hart is a defensive leader, Horka worked hard on turnovers and hustled, and the conference definitely noticed.”
Offensively, Horka and senior attack Rebecca Church are in the midst of five game scoring streaks for the Terriers. Redshirt sophomore Mallory Collins leads the team in scoring with 11 goals, while junior Lindsay Weiner is tops in points with four goals and 11 assists for 15 points.
On the other end, senior Jen Devito leads the Bulldogs with 26 points from 18 assists and eight goals. Daniggelis has tallied 18 goals so far this season, a team-leading number.
In goal Yale will likely look to senior Erin McMullan who has started every game in net so far in 2014. She owns a .456 save percentage and an impressive 8.00 goals-against average.
“It’s going to be a tough game tomorrow,” Robertshaw said. “It’s going to be very windy and snowy and we’re playing against a tough team. We need the defense to bring the confidence and step up as they did last week in order to get more shots on the cage.”