The No. 12 Boston University lacrosse team could not keep up with the No. 5 University of Pennsylvania, falling on the road, 13-7, Wednesday despite hat tricks from junior McKinley Curro and senior captain Sarah Dalton.
Dropping three straight contests after opening the season with a pair of victories, the Terriers (2-3) had shown signs of improvement after a narrow loss to Vanderbilt University at home last Saturday. But the Quakers (4-0), who outscored opponents 31-8 in their first three games, continued their offensive streak as BU struggled to respond.
‘It was a better effort than against Vanderbilt, but our defensive adjustments took too long,’ BU coach Liz Robertshaw said. ‘I was pretty happy with the attack, and we could’ve had more opportunities if we didn’t see those turnovers midfield.’
About 10 minutes into the game, Penn held a 3-1 lead and had possession of the ball during much of that time. The Terriers then evened the match by the 19:10 mark thanks to two free-position goals from Curro and Dalton in under a minute.
Yet the Quakers sustained their attack and reeled off four unanswered goals from four different players. For the rest of the half, the only goal BU tallied came off a feed from senior captain Kelly Munroe to freshman Hannah Frey as Penn went on a 7-1 run to end the period.
‘We needed more opportunities to put the ball in our sticks so we could put more points on the board,’ Robertshaw said. ‘We wanted to play our game and have a better attacking showing. We wanted to show that we could play hard and they weren’t going to run over us, and we did an average job at that. Penn’s a good, well-coached team.’
Senior goalkeeper Rachel Klein faced 31 shots from the home team, including 22 in the first frame, recording nine saves that prevented a rout. By comparison, Penn junior goalkeeper Emily Szelest saw 15 total shots, and her three saves all came in the first half. Yet after surrendering 35 goals in the last two games, Klein weathered the barrage with much improvement.
‘[Klein] played great,’ Robertshaw said. ‘She had some great saves from eight meters, and it was a total turnaround from last game. Those [nine] saves and huge stops made a big difference in this game.’
Penn junior Emma Spiro notched four goals, and four other Quakers recorded multiple goals. Meanwhile, the Terriers wasted a pair of hat tricks from Curro and Dalton, as well as the return of sophomore Katie Nichols, who was playing in her first game since last season after an injury.
‘McKinley was excited, confident and took some great shots,’ Robertshaw said. ‘Sarah also put in a great effort considering she’s been battling the flu. And Katie was good in those one-on-one situations and added to our defensive confidence.’
The issue of draw controls and possession time again plagued the Terriers. Penn outdrew BU, 13-8, and the visitors squandered opportunities downfield with overthrown passes and missed balls. However, Robertshaw understands the week’s difficult schedule against high-ranked squads and now prepares the team as it travels to her alma mater, George Mason University, this Saturday.
‘We had some great draws against Vanderbilt, and today, we didn’t do that,’ Robertshaw said. ‘We didn’t commit to getting the ball, and even if we had some nice looks on the cage, we had some silly unforced turnovers. Those things hurt.
‘We just played a stretch against three top programs in the countr,’ she said. ‘We had the confidence to play with them, and I just want us to play the way we know we can.’