Field Hockey, Sports

No. 17 field hockey open conference play with Lafayette clash

Senior back Rachel Coll will pace the BU defense against Lafayette. PHOTO COURTESY BRADFORDST219/FLICKR

After an up and down weekend against Boston College and Providence College, the No. 17 Boston University field hockey team will play its first Patriot League game of the season against Lafayette College Saturday at New Balance Field.

The Terriers (4-2) are coming off a 3-0 victory against Providence (0-6) this past Sunday, where BU dominated throughout the game. All three of the goals scored by the Terriers came off penalty corner opportunities.

BU’s upperclassmen displayed great leadership as well, as all three goals came from the team’s co-captains, senior midfielder Sofi Laurito (2) and senior back Rachel Coll (1). Junior back Bea Baumberger Altirriba assisted on all three goals, tying her with junior midfielder Hester van der Laan for most points on the team. Laurito falls third in points on the team, with six so far this season.

“[Laurito and Coll] are both very talented hockey players,” said BU coach Sally Starr. “This week is very important for them. They’re ready to play on game day and, as a result, they’re having a lot of success.”

Junior goalkeeper Cammy Jensen received her first career shutout in the game against Providence. Jensen boasts a .676 save percentage and made two difficult saves in the previous game.

“I was really glad to see [Jensen] get [the shutout],” Starr said. “It’s great for her confidence since she’s filling some big shoes having to play for [graduated netminder] Valentina [Cerda-Eimbcke]. She’s a kid that has a lot of confidence in herself and I think she’s a kid that our team has a lot of confidence in.”

The Terriers have a big test up ahead of them this weekend, though, as Lafayette (5-1) is currently riding a two-game winning streak and its defense has been a constant threat throughout this season.

“This time of year you’re still trying to fine-tune things,” Starr said. “Overall, our individual defense and our team defense are areas that we’re trying to improve upon and then as well as building on our penalty corner execution, which was excellent last weekend and we want to ensure that it’s something that’s working really well.

“We’re doing a great job of winning the ball off our press,” she added, “and I would like to see more goal-scoring opportunities and really try to get more positive play off our game.”

The Patriot League honored Leopard senior Hannah Millen for the third week in a row as Defensive Player of the Week and junior Katelyn Arnold was named Goalkeeper of the Week for the first time this past Monday.

“It’s a tough opening game for conference play,” Starr said. “Lafayette is an outstanding team, they’re well coached and they’re having an outstanding season … They’re a team that defends really well and they’re a team that can attack.”

In their past two games, the Leopards have only allowed one goal, as Arnold recorded the second shutout of her career last week against Monmouth University. On the offensive side, senior Katie Birle is tied with junior Amanda Magadan for the team lead in points with 10 apiece.

Starr expects Saturday’s clash to be a tight-scoring one, though after a stellar week of practice she is optimistic that her team can start Patriot League play off with a bang.

“We’re excited for it, it’s a home game for us, and that makes a nice opener for our conference play,” Starr said. “We’re having a really good week of practice and our total focus is on Lafayette right now, so I’m anticipating a really competitive, hard-fought hockey game.”

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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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