When the No. 14 Boston University field hockey team stumbled through a tumultuous four-game losing streak four weeks ago, outsiders started to question whether the Terriers’ (12-5, 5-1 Patriot League) seven consecutive victories to begin the season were simply an anomaly.
“We had to stop focusing on results and put the focus on the execution of our fundamentals, our technical and tactical execution,” BU head coach Sally Starr said. “We had to just get out there and play hockey.”
The persistent BU squad put that claim to rest over the past few weeks, however, concluding the regular season on a 5-1 surge that included a pair of critical conference victories over the College of the Holy Cross and American University over the past week. With their showings of late, the Terriers earned the right to host the Patriot League Tournament for the second consecutive season by garnering the top seed.
“The win that we had at American [11-6, 5-1 Patriot League] — that was huge for us,” Starr said. “They are a really good team, they are well coached and the the travel is tough.”
The Terriers recent winning streak has been spurred by brilliant showings by the Terriers’ senior class, performances that commenced in the group’s 3-1 victory over the Crusaders (9-9, 3-3 Patriot League) last Tuesday.
Senior midfielder Hester van der Laan came out of the Turnpike Trophy contest with MVP hardware, notching the go-ahead goal late in the first half. Her showing was aided by the efforts of fellow senior forward Taylor Blood, who picked up her seventh assist of the season.
Senior forward Sara Martineau has stepped up in major fashion in the final regular season matches of her collegiate career. The Woonsocket, Rhode Island native preserved a one-goal lead in the second half of the Terriers’ win over Holy Cross by saving a shot before sending home a goal of her own in the 67th minute of her team’s 2-1 win over the Eagles on Saturday afternoon.
Martineau’s go-ahead tally was assisted by classmate senior forward Amanda Cassera, who achieved a milestone that she had yet to garner over the course of her decorated career. The Terriers’ leader in goals scored recorded an assist in both the first and second halves, the first multi-assist game of her time at BU.
Young guns impressing
Despite the fact that the Terriers’ upperclassmen have piloted the team over the past few weeks, it has received considerable assistance from those who still have plenty of collegiate field hockey left to be played.
After netting just a pair of goals over the first 14 games of the season, sophomore forward Kara Enoch has emerged as a scoring threat with three goals in her last three games. She capitalized on a rebound to plate the game-tying goal early on in BU’s win over the Crusaders before adding an insurance tally in the game’s 56th minute.
In addition, sophomore forward Ally Hammel has been crucial to the team’s recent success. She recorded an assist on van der Laan’s deciding goal against Holy Cross before assisting the team on the other side of the field versus the Eagles by preserving a tied ballgame with a defensive save in the first half.
Terriers looking ahead to rematch against Bucknell
With the regular season’s slate now complete, BU will seek its third consecutive NCAA Tournament bid in this weekend’s Patriot League Tournament, which kicks off with the Terriers hosting Bucknell University on Friday afternoon.
The upcoming battle with the Bison marks a rematch of last season’s conference tournament semifinal game. After marching into the contest having downed Bucknell by a score of 6-0 just two weeks earlier, the Terriers entered the matchup confident.
However, their opponents put up a fight, taking BU to double overtime before falling by a narrow 3-2 margin.
Starr said she knows it won’t be easy on Friday, and she looks forward to the opportunity.
“It’s the postseason now, and last year is a really great example of how you have to respect your opponent at all times, regardless of how your previous game goes,” Starr said.