Field Hockey, Sports

Field hockey opens season with weekend split

 Junior midfielder Hester van der Laan. PHOTO BY JUSTIN HAWK/DFP FILE PHOTO
Junior midfielder Hester van der Laan. PHOTO BY JUSTIN HAWK/DFP FILE PHOTO

The No. 20 Boston University field hockey team opened the 2015 season by participating in the inaugural Tri-Conference Cup this past weekend. The Terriers topped the University of New Hampshire 4-3 on Friday night, but fell to the University of Massachusetts Amherst the following Sunday night, 2-1.

Against the Wildcats (1-1), BU (1-1) came out strong to start the first half, playing much of the time in the offensive zone. It was junior midfielder Hester van der Laan who got on the board first in the 10th minute of the first half, after a shot from the middle of the half circle cruised past Wildcat goalkeeper Melissa Rize. The shot was made possible by freshman forward Kara Enoch’s carry up the right side of the field into the offensive zone.

Shortly after a penalty corner opportunity for BU, sophomore forward Grace Boston scored her first collegiate goal on a shot from the right side of the half circle, which bounced over Rize’s pads and into the net, putting the Terriers up 2-0. The goal was once again assisted by Enoch.

Despite its deficit, UNH began to fight back, especially in the defensive zone, as the Terriers had a tough time holding possession of the ball on offense. On a penalty corner opportunity with just over eight minutes to go before the end of the first half, UNH backer Ashley Mendonca put her team on the scoreboard with a shot that soared into the net over BU junior goalkeeper Cammy Jensen’s stick.

Just two minutes into the second half, the Wildcats evened the score on forward Meg Flatley’s shot from the right half circle. The Terriers would battle back, however, with junior forward Taylor Blood giving them the lead off a terrific pass from classmate Amanda Cassera.

The Wildcats returned the game to a deadlock on another penalty corner opportunity, and it was senior Meg Carroll this time who bested Jensen on a pass from fullback Jackie Hozza.

Finally, the winning goal of the game came on the Terriers’ eighth and final penalty corner opportunity, when senior midfielder Sofi Laurito deflected the ball into the top corner of the net with just over a minute to go in the contest.

Unfortunately, the Terriers would not experience the same result against No. 18 UMass (1-1) just two days later.

“UMass is a very good team,” said BU coach Sally Starr. “We knew it was going to be a really good test for us tonight and I think that we would love to have seen a better effort coming out right from the beginning.”

Just over six minutes into the game, it was the Minutemen who capitalized first on a deflection by sophomore Nicole Kuerzi on an original shot from forward/midfielder Izzie Delario.

It would not take long for UMass to increase its lead to 2-0, when fullback/midfielder Melanie Kreusch received a penalty stroke opportunity and shot the ball over Jensen’s stick side and into the net.

Despite receiving four penalty corner opportunities in the first half, the Terriers were unable to capitalize, and were sometimes unsuccessful in maintaining control of the ball.

“I just think we let the game get away from us in the first half,” Starr said. “Our penalty corner execution was very poor tonight. We really had a hard time trapping the ball. That can be a difference in the game right there, if we score a couple goals on our corners. That’s a big area of improvement that we need to make sure we do for next weekend.”

In the second half, the Terriers made some adjustments, allowing them to score their first goal of the night on their eighth and final penalty corner opportunity. Junior fullback Bea Baumberger Altirriba swatted the ball past UMass goalkeeper Sam Carlino on the insert from senior back Rachel Coll.

Unfortunately, BU was unable to even the score despite the hard-working offensive push they exhibited towards the end of the second half.

“We made some adjustments for the second half,” Starr said. “The girls executed really well, we controlled play. [UMass] didn’t get a shot or corner. [UMass] is a good team, so if you can hold a good team like that to no shots and no corners, you’re doing something right, but I just wish we had done that in the first half.”

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Ranya currently covers field hockey and women’s hockey for the Daily Free Press. As a Biology major at BU, she spends much of her time buried in her Chemistry textbook with the occasional trip to the piano practice room to rehearse her favorite piece, Debussy’s "Claire de Lune." She is an avid ice hockey fan and a proud supporter of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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