For the first time in four years, the Boston University field hockey team will not wear the America East championship crown.
After losing 1-0 to the University at Albany Friday afternoon at Alumni Turf Field in Albany, N.Y., BU (10-10) watched as the Great Danes (11-9) knocked off the University of New Hampshire Sunday for its first-ever conference title.
Failing to put a mark on the board against Albany in both games this season, the Terriers’ futility in the offensive zone hemmed a gameplan focused on patience.
‘Our inability to score hurt us,’ BU coach Sally Starr said. ‘In the first half, we got bogged down by not following our gameplan. We were a little impatient. If we had played more disciplined, we would have been as effective as we were in the second half.’
Despite falling behind by a goal ‘-‘- a penalty corner conversion by the Great Danes 7:39 into the game ‘-‘- the Terriers dominated Albany in every statistical category, including shots and penalty corners.
However, the urgency displayed in the first half prevented the Terriers from settling into their rhythm ‘-‘- a rhythm that catapulted them to an overtime win at the University of Vermont one week earlier.
‘If you look at the stats, especially in the second half, we definitely created the opportunities to tie and win the game,’ Starr said. ‘We outshot them and we out-statted them across the board.’
Missing from this year’s BU team was inexperience on the front end of the offensive zone. With their top three leading scorers from last season lost to graduation, the Terriers scored just 29 goals this year ‘-‘- fewer than half the total from last year’s conference championship campaign.
‘The biggest thing was we were the least experienced in our strikers,’ Starr said. ‘That’s where the bulk of graduation hit us. Losing Sarah Shute, Hayley Hamada and Hadley Adams, the striker line was decimated. Throughout the whole season, we weren’t a good scoring offensive team.’
With seniors Hayly Ross, Holly Wiles and Lizzie Perreault as the only Terriers on the graduation block, BU will return next season both experienced and determined.
‘The biggest thing for us [with everyone returning] is to get us back on track,’ Starr said. ‘This year’s team had highlights at Vermont, [the University of Connecticut and the University of Virginia]. But for next year we have to raise the bar and get back in a position to compete for the championship.’
Returning next year will also be Page Kelley and Sierra Corbit, who both missed this year because of injuries.
‘We have a lot to do this winter,’ Starr said of the upcoming offseason. ‘We have the personnel to get back to the title game. We need to put in the time and effort to do what we need to do to be much more successful.’
Despite the result, with the careers of Wiles, Perreault and Ross ending with a conference loss for the first time, Starr was nonetheless satisfied with each of their final performances.
‘I’m really proud of Holly, Lizzie and Hayly,’ Starr said. ‘They left it all out on the field, and that’s what you are supposed to do in your last game.’