The No. 9 Boston University field hockey team had up to this point in the season faced very little adversity, but that’s exactly what it faced throughout Sunday’s 5-1 loss to the No. 3 University of Connecticut.
In the 48th minute, UConn (9-0) sophomore Amelia Iacobucci received a pass in BU’s (7-2, 1-1 Patriot League) zone, drawing as many as three Terrier defenders. Iacobucci’s maneuvering resulted in a penalty corner, one of many defensive mistakes that the Huskies’ aggressiveness caused.
UConn utilized good ball movement to draw BU defenders out of position, scoring three first-half goals. While the Huskies finished the contest with only one assist, the ball movement caused BU’s defense to break down.
This allowed for more openings in the Terriers’ defense, resulting in scoring opportunities for the opposing side. UConn finished with 11 total shots, the majority of which were in the first half, and the first three of which resulted in scores.
Especially in the first half, Terrier defenders were often beat in races to loose balls, and BU head coach Sally Starr took note of this.
“We were just soft defensively,” Starr said. “We were backing off them, giving them too much space in the circle.”
This defensive attitude took its toll on the Terriers, as the Huskies finished the game with seven shots on goal. UConn, which scores an average of 4.56 goal per game, was able to exhibit its potent offense attack.
The Huskies’ players exploited defensive holes presented by BU. Among them was junior Casey Umstead, who finished the game with two goals.
Though BU’s defense struggled in the first half, it significantly improved in the second half, allowing one early goal in the 38th minute, and a second one in the final minute, after the game was all but out of reach.
Starr appreciated the adjustments her team made in the second half.
“We weren’t urgent, athletic, low,” Starr said. “Just basic things we weren’t doing in that first half, we did in the second half.”
On a surface level, the Terriers’ struggles seemed to carry over to the offensive end. BU tied its lowest scoring output of the season, with the only offense being junior fullback/midfielder Allie Renzi’s fourth goal of the season at 51:00.
By just looking at the box score, it would seem as though this was a forgettable contest on both sides of the ball for the Terriers. Passes often went awry due to the high amount of defensive pressure, and the majority of the game was played with UConn on the offensive.
While the Terriers only scored one goal, they had numerous chances, finishing the game with 10 penalty corners compared to UConn’s three. Instead of being critical of her team’s inability to take advantage of such chances, Starr took it as a positive.
“To get that many corners against this team, you’re doing some good stuff,” she said.
Starr will be looking for her team to learn from its mistakes and correct them when it faces Harvard University on Thursday. As a whole, she was proud of her team’s performance.
“The hockey that we played today, particularly through our midfield and our attacking third field, was outstanding against a really good team,” Starr said. “It’s September right now — we’ve got to take that as a positive.”