After a dominating win against Fairfield University on Wednesday afternoon, the No. 15 Boston University field hockey team advanced to the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday against No. 1 University of North Carolina.
The Terriers (15-6, 6-0 Patriot League) can attribute their success, not only to regular contests, but also to those in which the stakes were especially high.
“I think it’s definitely a team effort,” said senior midfielder Sofi Laurito. “[Senior fullback] Rachel [Coll] and I work together to get everyone going and as soon as one starts firing everyone up, everyone just gets on it.”
As co-captains, Laurito and Coll led the team to victory in high-pressure situations throughout the season. That trend continued into the Patriot League Tournament and NCAA Tournament Play-In game against Fairfield (9-10).
Laurito holds the team-lead in both goals and points (33). The Buenos Aires, Argentina, native grabbed her 15th goal of the season against the Stags on a sharp backhand shot from just inside the half-circle.
Coll has been a stone wall for the defensive side of the team and often sets offensive charges in motion for the Terriers. The New Zealander along with the rest of the Terrier defense did not allow a shot from the Stags until late in the second half.
Laurito emphasized the importance of a combined team effort during a high-stakes contest like the one against Fairfield.
“It’s not just a one or two person job,” Laurito said. “It’s the 22 of us working together out there.”
Against the Stags, the Terriers capitalized early, leading 3-0 by the end of the first half. Six different BU players scored in the contest, showing the ability to generate goals across the entire lineup.
Despite numerous attempts to fuel a comeback effort, Fairfield could not handle the offensive force demonstrated by BU. The Terriers have worked hard all year to maintain control of the play during important matchups.
In the Patriot League final against American University, the Terriers maintained a two-goal lead throughout the majority of the game. Even when the Eagles (12-7, 5-1 Patriot League) narrowed the score by one towards the end of the second half, BU maintained its composure and focus, which allowed it to gain confidence and momentum heading into Wednesday’s contest.
“There’s nothing that we haven’t seen this year,” said BU coach Sally Starr. “We’ve played the best teams in the country.”
The team effort and ability to rally together will come in handy for the Terriers when North Carolina (18-2) is their opponent. In their most important tilt of the season, Starr feels as though her team is up to the task.
“You’re in the NCAA Tournament,” Starr said of the energy going into the game on Saturday. “I think we’re feeling that we’ve had the opportunity to play the best teams in the country and we’re feeling happy to go to North Carolina.”