The No. 13 Boston University field hockey was in desperate search of a win Thursday night at New Balance Field to regain momentum, but Harvard University had other plans.
After an unexpected upset by Lafayette College this past Friday and a tough loss to No. 1 University of Connecticut over the weekend, the Terriers (7-3, 1-1 Patriot League) were looking to regain the form that saw them go 7-0 to start the season, but the Crimson (5-4) shut them down in a 1-0 defeat.
Despite BU outshooting Harvard 6-3 in the first half, the Crimson came out attacking in the frame in an effort to get on the board early against a formidable Terrier offense.
With crisp passing, the Crimson tried to create holes in the bulwark of the home team’s defense. While this proved ineffective, it seemed to wear out the Terriers.
An absence of an offensive strategy throughout the first half also cost the Terriers, as their struggle with maintaining offensive possession fueled Harvard’s forwards and midfielders enough in the second half to gain a penalty corner, which they subsequently turned into the game’s lone goal in the 52nd minute.
“I just think we had a difficult time outletting,” BU head coach Sally Starr said. “They pressed us really well and I think we were having a lot of unforced turnovers. They were putting us under contest and I think we need to be able to outlet better when we are getting pressed.”
Yet, after the goal, BU came to life. In an attempt to equalize the score, the Terriers mounted an aggressive offensive push, as they possessed the ball a majority of the last 15 minutes. While the Terriers’ comeback efforts proved fruitless, Starr is sure that the team will learn from the defeat and return to a winning form.
While defensive and inactive on the offensive side in the first half, the Terriers seemed to respond forcefully to the Harvard goal. Senior goalkeeper Cammy Jensen, who had five saves on the night, was instrumental in keeping the score on the lower end.
The Terriers’ usual offensive threats simply weren’t as active on Thursday. Senior midfielder Hester van der Laan, for example, only put up two shots against the Crimson, and has nine points on the season.
“I’m disappointed with that it took that long for us to really start clicking as well as we can,” Starr said. “We’re struggling a little bit right now, but I know that this team will find the answers.”
Although a third consecutive loss on the statsheet may cast a negative light over the Terriers’ season, the last portion of the game was reassuring, and Starr and her staff will be looking for similar strong performances in the coming weeks.
The offensive tenacity that was absent for most of the game displayed itself after the Crimson goal, and should serve as a boost to the team as it goes on the road this weekend to face No. 3 Duke University on Sunday afternoon.
“We just need to keep working hard and keep playing the game,” Starr said. “Play one minute at a time, play five minutes at a time, just keep playing the game. We’re just in a little bit a of a slump, but we’ll figure things out.”