Field Hockey, Sports

Upperclass leadership vital to No. 17 field hockey’s success

Patriot League Preseason Offensive Player of the Year Sofi Laurito had a five-point weekend vs. American and Northeastern. PHOTO BY BETSEY GOLDWASSER/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

The No. 17 Boston University field hockey team pulled out another two wins this past weekend against American University and Northeastern University, thanks to the continued production from its upperclassmen, notably senior midfielder/forward Sofi Laurito, junior forward Amanda Cassera, junior midfielder Bea Baumberger Altirriba and senior fullback Rachel Coll.

All four Terriers (8-3, 3-0 Patriot League) tallied at least one point against the Eagles (7-4, 2-1 Patriot League) on Saturday.

Laurito, who registered three points with a goal and assist on Saturday, is third on the team in points. The co-captain is on track for yet another impressive season and has proven to be a huge asset for the Terriers in high-pressure situations.

In the opening game this season against the University of New Hampshire, she scored the game-winning goal with less than a minute and a half remaining in the match, giving the Terriers their first win of the year. In BU’s win against Providence College, the Buenos Aires, Argentina, native scored two out of three goals and helped junior goalkeeper Cammy Jensen to her first career shutout.

Cassera is having a relatively slower start to her season compared to last year, but has warmed up of late and gotten right back to her old ways, tallying two points from a goal Friday. The goal was her third of the season and marked her seventh point. Cassera shined in BU’s game against Hofstra University on Sept. 5, scoring the opening goal to give the Terriers a 1-0 lead early in the first half.

Even though she did not tally a point over the weekend, junior midfielder Hester van der Laan is also part of the leadership core for BU. She currently holds second place for points on the team with 16, but leads the team in goals with six. The Amsterdam, Netherlands, native’s biggest moment this year was scoring the overtime goal for BU against the University of Maine on a penalty stroke opportunity, giving the Terriers a road trip sweep.

Altirriba has had a successful season as a midfielder, displaying her natural offensive presence this year. She scored twice against the Eagles, registering five points and giving her the top spot in points on the team. The Barcelona, Spain, native’s leadership has impressed more than just the team, however, as she won Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week just two weeks ago.

“Bea was outstanding,” said BU coach Sally Starr regarding Altirriba’s play against American. “She came off the field at the end of the game there and I just told her that was the best hockey game I’ve seen her play in her collegiate career. She was defensively outstanding and offensively outstanding, played with a lot of energy and a lot of purpose, a lot of poise, and I was really happy to see her play so well today.”

While Altirriba has the offensive fullback position covered, Coll has stepped up her game at the defensive center back position. The co-captain scored the Terriers’ first goal on a penalty corner opportunity against American, and later assisted on another penalty corner goal later in the game.

Coll made the difference Sunday as well when she knocked home the overtime winner against the Huskies (3-9) in a 3-2 decision.

Penalty corner setup is one of Coll’s greatest strengths, as she mans the insert and passes the ball from the sideline in to the inner circle.

“It’s a veteran team,” Starr said. “We call our first couple corners and after that we tell them to make a call to see what they see, and they’re making some great decisions out there and executing.”

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