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Women’s lacrosse advances to Patriot League semifinal

Playing in its first postseason contest as a member of the Patriot League, the No. 3 seed Boston University women’s lacrosse team took on sixth-seeded Lehigh University in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament at Nickerson Field Tuesday evening.

MICHELLE JAY/DAILY FREE PRESS  FILE PHOTO Sophomore Jill Horka scored a career-best five times during BU’s playoff win Tuesday.

MICHELLE JAY/DAILY FREE PRESS FILE PHOTO
Sophomore Jill Horka scored a career-best five times during BU’s playoff win Tuesday.

The Terriers (8-9, 5-3 Patriot League) and Mountain Hawks (7-9, 4-4 Patriot League) battled 60 minutes for the right to advance to the semifinals, and BU came away with a 14-9 win.

“We were definitely excited,” said BU coach Liz Robertshaw about the contest. “We just wanted to come out here and do our thing. We weren’t really nervous but there were some nerves. I think we were just happy to get out there.”

BU won the draw to start the contest and capitalized just minutes later when sophomore midfielder Jill Horka scored a free-position shot to put the Terriers up 1-0. BU continued to dominate, and Horka found the back of the net again at the 20:44 mark to stretch the lead to 2-0.

The Mountain Hawks would respond just a minute later, as midfielder Kelsey Yenco scored her first goal on the season.

Horka answered back with her third goal of the game, scoring another free-position shot at the 16:37 mark in the first half, pushing the Terriers’ advantage to 3-1.

“It was great,” Robertshaw said about Horka’s play. “She’s been outstanding. She really has been. The kid is always running around, up and down the field.”

Lehigh did not go away and quickly scored two goals, tying the game at three apiece with 11:01 left in the first half.

The tie was short lived though, and BU embarked on a 3-0 run, capped off by a laser of a free-position shot from senior midfielder Sydney Godett at the 5:34 mark.

Following the goal, Lehigh took a timeout as it looked as like BU was pulling away. The Mountain Hawks came out of the break charging, as midfielder Allison LaBeau laced one to the back of the net, cutting BU’s lead back to just two.

The Terriers scored just 15 seconds later though, as junior attack Lindsay Weiner extended the BU lead back to three.

Lehigh dominated for the remaining five minutes of the first half, continuing to fire shot after shot. Midfielder Julianne D’Orazio finally capitalized with just 27 seconds left in the first frame and the BU lead was cut to 7-5 heading into the second.

BU won the draw to start the second half and went on another 3-0 run spanning over nine minutes. The run was highlighted by a goal and an assist from junior attack Lindsay Weiner, as the Terriers pushed their lead to 10-5, their biggest of the game.

“We realized it wasn’t the strongest facet of our game,” Robertshaw said about the team’s usual performance in the second half. “We really cleaned it up today though, we played much better. I thought we controlled the second half, and it made me really happy.”

Lehigh would not give in and Yenco scored her second goal of the game with 14:05 left in the second half.

But BU was relentless and seemed to always have an answer for the Mountain Hawks. This time, sophomore attack Jenny Thompson answered to put the Terriers back up by five with 12:41 remaining.

Yenco tried to rally the Mountain Hawks, and she responded again with another goal of her own. Attack Krista Dampman added another goal just moments later and Lehigh netted two more quick goals to trim BU’s lead to three. Horka added her fifth goal of the game, a career-high number,to answer the Lehigh run. Freshman attack Taylor Hardison added another goal for the Terriers just nine seconds later to put BU in clear control of the game.

Lehigh picked up the pressure over the last eight minutes, but to no avail, and the Terriers came away with a 14-9 win to advance to the Patriot League semifinals.

“We’re excited to keep moving forward,” Robertshaw said. “It’s our first time [in this tournament] but we’re still very confident. I think if we keep playing the way we did today, maybe clean a few things up, we can keep winning.”

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