Lacrosse, Sports

Caroline Meegan shines as women’s lacrosse dominates Holy Cross

Freshman midfielder Kelly Matthews chipped in a goal in BU's route of Holy Cross, but it was junior goalkeeper Caroline Meegan's play that carried the team. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Freshman midfielder Kelly Matthews chipped in a goal in BU’s route of Holy Cross, but it was junior goalkeeper Caroline Meegan’s play that carried the team. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

The Boston University women’s lacrosse team began the 2016 season with a fierce competition at the goalkeeper spot between junior Caroline Meegan and sophomore Christine Laible. BU head coach Liz Robertshaw said the battle for the starting job in net brought out the best in both players and forced each of them to be prepared at a moment’s notice.

After a few weeks of competition, Robertshaw selected Meegan as the starter for the Terriers (8-7, 5-3 Patriot League), and the Lutherville, Maryland native has never looked back.

During BU’s 11-4 domination over the College of the Holy Cross Wednesday night, Meegan demonstrated just how far she has come since the beginning of the season.

The junior goalkeeper said the competition for the starting job motivated her and helped her find her place on the team.

“Every day, you’re seeing the competition making saves and the different ways they play as well as the different ways that I can help out the team with what my strengths are,” Meegan said. “A lot of it was just me using my strengths to just help the defense and putting my best effort forward.”

Despite a tough start to the game in which the Crusaders (2-13, 2-5 Patriot League) scored just over two minutes into the game and again approximately seven minutes later, Meegan played arguably her best game of the season.

At one point, she had gone nearly 35 minutes without allowing a goal. The final two goals she allowed were scored when the Terriers had already put the game out of reach. After the final whistle, Robertshaw said how proud she was of Meegan for getting these results after working so hard to improve.

“She’s done a great job,” Robertshaw said. “She’s really committed to making her game better and better each week. She’s just taken the time to become a great goaltender, and I think that’s important to her. She wants to be the starting goaltender, and she wants to be one of the best ones that’s ever played here, and she’s on her way to doing that.”

Early in the first half, BU’s physical play resulted in various opportunities for Holy Cross on draw positions. Meegan did not back down, deflecting each attempt while making her presence known between the pipes. At one point, Holy Cross sent three or four shots in a row wide of the net, feeling pressure to be precise in order to sneak one past Meegan.

The Terriers’ offensive players certainly made it easier on the junior goalkeeper, as they controlled possession for most of the game. With the score tied at two, BU scored six unanswered goals to put the game away. Sophomore attack Mickenzie Larivee and senior midfielder Ally Adams both recorded hat tricks. Sophomore attack Avery Donahoe also chipped in two more in what turned out to be a blowout.

“It’s funny — when we have the ball [on offense] a lot, I think [Meegan] gets bored,” Robertshaw said. “She wants some action. I think she just felt confident that she could take some risks, make some really big saves and that the team had her back on the offensive end.”

The Terriers’ defense also stood its ground for most of the game, forcing 14 turnovers. At some points during the second half, however, BU’s defense got too comfortable and allowed Holy Cross to have point blank shots on goal. But each of the Crusaders’ efforts at goal were denied by Meegan’s stick. She finished the night with 12 saves while holding Holy Cross to 1-6 on free-position shots.

After the game, Meegan was quick to deflect the praise to her teammates.

“It was just a really good combination of everyone doing their job,” she said. “We gave them the shot opportunities that we wanted to see … A lot of that was the defense keeping them out.”

On a night in which the Terriers clinched a third consecutive berth in the Patriot League tournament, the team as a whole showed how much it has improved from the beginning of the year, with no player standing out more than the BU goalkeeper.

Robertshaw said she hopes that her team can keep getting better and carry this momentum into the postseason.

“I told them that I wanted us to play a game that was more indicative of who we are,” Robertshaw said. “It was grittier, we had more fight, and I think that gets us going in the right direction for the Patriot League tournament.”

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