The Boston University women’s lacrosse team fell at home for the first time this season, 12-10, in a two-overtime battle with Lehigh University.
The Terriers (6-6, 4-1 Patriot League) came into Saturday’s game riding a five-game winning streak, which included a 19-9 drubbing of the University of New Hampshire. BU was looking to preserve its undefeated record in the conference at Nickerson Field against the Mountain Hawks (6-6, 3-2 Patriot League).
Lehigh, on the other hand, had an up-and-down season to that point, and had not won two consecutive games. Before facing off against the Terriers, Lehigh lost at Yale University 8-7 in a nail-biter.
After putting up 19 goals in its previous game, BU continued the offensive momentum versus Lehigh, taking an early 3-1 lead. Coming off of a five-goal performance, senior attack Elizabeth Morse scored two goals within the first four minutes of play, increasing her season total to 15.
“She’s a player who is determined to win every time she takes the field,” said BU coach Liz Robertshaw. “She’s still a student of the game, even in her senior year and she’s willing to put the team on her shoulders. All season long she’s been a fantastic leader for us.”
With another early lead in hand, the Terriers grew complacent and the Mountain Hawks made them pay. Following Morse’s second goal, Lehigh scored six unanswered, including two from leading scorer, junior Carli Sukonik. Following Sukonik’s second goal, which put the Mountain Hawks up 5-3 with 12:04 remaining in the first half, Robertshaw pulled freshman goalkeeper Caroline Meegan and subbed in senior Christina Sheridan.
“I saw Caroline was struggling and thought a change might swing the momentum for us,” Robertshaw said. “Christina had a great week of practice this week, too, which also helped make this decision.
“She really brings the dynamic of experience as well as commanding presence, which is difficult for a freshman to create sometimes.”
Sheridan stopped the bleeding as much as she could, but Lehigh still carried a 7-4 lead into halftime, after a late goal from junior midfielder Lindsay Weiner saved BU from a four-goal deficit.
“I was disappointed in our first half,” Robertshaw said. “We didn’t execute our game plan defensively, and we allowed some easy chances that should have been prevented.”
Though the Mountain Hawks scored first to start the second half, the Terriers retained their composure. BU scored four goals in rapid succession in response to the deficit. Sophomore midfielder Jill Horka scored to cut the deficit to one at the 14:11 mark, and senior midfielder Becca Church evened up the game 18 seconds later.
“In the second half we played extremely well,” Robertshaw said. “We saw some mistakes we made earlier in the game and we tried really hard to correct them, which paid off for us when we came back.”
Senior midfielder Sydney Godett and sophomore attack Mallory Collins capped off BU’s six-goal run, giving it a 10-8 lead with 9:46 remaining in the game. However, the Terriers could not hold the lead, giving up two more goals, sending the game into overtime.
In the first six-minute overtime period, the Mountain Hawks played ball control for most of the frame, eventually scoring on a shot from freshman Allison LaBeau. Once again the Terriers were pushed to the edge of defeat, only to score in a timely fashion off the stick of Weiner for her second goal on the day. With the game knotted up at 11 at the end of one overtime, the teams entered a sudden-death overtime period.
After winning the initial draw control, BU turned the ball over two times and failed on a crucial clearance attempt, setting up a close chance for LaBeau, who converted for the 22nd time this season.
Though a heartbreaking way to lose, Robertshaw said she hopes this mid-season conference test could be the perfect wake-up call for the Terriers as they prepare for the final quarter of their season.
“This was a hard lesson for us, and it wasn’t an easy one to swallow,” Robertshaw said. “But, I think a game like this one will help us down the road.”