The Boston University women’s lacrosse team built on its recent defensive success Wednesday in a 6-5 victory over Yale University.
Coming off of a win over the incumbent Patriot League champion U.S. Naval Academy, the Terriers (4-5, 3-0 Patriot League) have gained much-needed confidence in the past few games. Their win over Navy (9-1, 3-1 Patriot League) snapped the Midshipmen’s three-year undefeated streak in conference play.
In BU’s last three games, it has held each opponent under 10 goals, leading to three victories. These three contests have seen the Terriers limit their opponents to an average of 21 shots per game.
“I think the defense is playing with confidence right now,” said BU coach Liz Robertshaw. “They’re really clicking in terms of following the game plan we set forth.”
This defensive improvement shone bright in the win over the Bulldogs (5-3). Every time Yale rushed down to the offensive end, a stingy Terrier defense waited to greet them. The defense, led by Patriot League Defender of the Week senior Christie Hart, swarmed the Yale attack, causing 22 turnovers.
“I told them that I was really impressed with the way they disrupted Yale’s offense with some of the big scorers that they have,” Robertshaw said. “That’s a hot team that’s been scoring some goals recently.”
Wednesday’s game was marked as a defensive struggle from the first whistle blow. The 30-mile per-hour winds made the Terriers’ defensive stick checks all the more menacing as the game wore on. Robertshaw admitted after the game, however, that the BU defense was not immune to the conditions either.
“The fact that these players battled through a game like this is just a credit to their hard work and determination,” Robertshaw said. “I know many of them couldn’t feel their feet. The wind was really tough to run into and it really disrupted our defensive sets in the second half because our players couldn’t hear them coming from the sidelines. It was a gutsy game we played through.”
The true force of the Terrier defense did not lie in the weather though, but rather in the stick and pads of freshman goalkeeper Caroline Meegan. The Timonium, Md., native has done an admirable job filling in for injured senior goalkeeper Christina Sheridan. Meegan has started eight of nine games this season for the Terriers, including playing against two national contenders in No. 1 University of North Carolina and No. 2 University of Maryland.
Against Yale, Meegan came up with seven saves, including one in the final minutes that prevented a late comeback. The Patriot League Rookie of the Week was especially strong versus the draw control, stopping five of the Bulldogs’ seven attempts.
“[Meegan] is getting more and more confident with each game,” Robertshaw said. “You’re just seeing a player who was given an opportunity at the beginning of the year and has run with it. She’s making the most of every minute she’s in cage. She’s gained confidence in the defense in front of her, and she’s done an excellent job.”
Going forward, a strong defense will prove to be a valuable weapon for Robertshaw to have in her arsenal, but she is not counting her blessings quite yet.
“Our defense is doing a good job of playing aggressively, while playing smart,” Robertshaw said. “I’m happy with our play lately, but we still have some room to improve.”