Lacrosse, Sports

‘Lock down’ second half sends women’s lacrosse to Patriot League semifinals in 14-9 win over Colgate

Senior attack Avery Donahoe (#30) returned to the field for the first time since April 11 in BU’s quarterfinal matchup against Colgate. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DFP FILE PHOTO

In the first postseason meeting between the No. 5 seeded Boston University women’s lacrosse team and No. 4 seeded Colgate University, the Terriers (10-7, 5-4 Patriot League) secured a 14-9 win in Hamilton, New York Tuesday afternoon.

BU rebounded from its earlier 12-8 loss to Colgate (10-7, 5-4 Patriot League) during the regular season, after outscoring the Raiders in a 7-2 streak during the second half.

Since joining the league in 2014, the Terriers have gone to the semifinals each season, something BU head coach Liz Robertshaw said is proof of the team’s tenacity.

“It just speaks volumes about this team and the character they’ve shown,” Robertshaw said. “We’ve faced a lot of adversity this season, and the fact that they’ve battled through it all together — I’m just so impressed.”

The game started with senior attack Avery Donahoe making her first appearance since the Terriers’ April 11 game against the University of New Hampshire. During that matchup, she notched eight goals and an assist before leaving the field with an undisclosed injury.

Donahoe made good use of her first few minutes on the field and opened the scoring 2:25 into the contest while she picked up two ground balls and a caused a turnover.

However, Donahoe experienced some rough contact from two caused turnovers by Raiders junior defender Chelsea Taylor and had to be assisted off the field after less than four minutes of play.

While Robertshaw declined to provide details on Donahoe’s injury, she still emphasized the co-captain’s leadership.

“She’s been working her tail to get back on the field and she felt great in practice yesterday. We asked if she felt ready to play and she said yes,” Robertshaw said. “When she’s on the field, she’s an astounding leader, a vocal presence and draws attention. It was tough to see her go down, but I also think, again, she wanted to do whatever was best for the team.”

The team continued its offensive push with freshman attack Ava Barry and sophomore midfielder Lexi Lewis scoring within 13 seconds of each other to bring the score to 3-1.

Freshman midfielder Emily Vervlied threaded her way through a crowded crease to get a quick shot behind Colgate sophomore goalkeeper Samantha Croston to extend BU’s lead to 5-2.

The Raiders followed up with a 5-1 run. Junior attack and midfielder Tara Atkinson topped off the run to give Colgate its first lead of the game at 7-6.

Vervlied brought the Terriers back to a tie with eight seconds left before half time.

“We changed the game plan midway through, and I think [the defense] really thrived,” Robertshaw said. “They got back to causing turnovers, both our defenders and [midfielders] were great about that.”

By the end of the matchup, BU forced 13 caused turnovers and picked up 36 ground balls. The Terrier attack also thrived, going on a six-goal unanswered stretch through the second half.

Despite the Raiders getting a man-up advantage at the start of the second half after a yellow card against junior defender Tonianne Magnelli, freshman midfielder Ryann Gaffney was the first player to put up a point after Croston failed to secure a rebound.

On the other end of the field — with 12 saves on the night — senior goalkeeper Christine Laible pushed her double-digit saves streak to five games.

“Christine Laible had some outstanding saves in some big moments,” Robertshaw. “You saw the whole team just lock down, and they felt confident making some of those plays.”

Barry collected her fourth four-goal performance of the season before Colgate senior attack Kristen Brigagliano broke BU’s scoring streak with a high shot to the net’s top corner with just over six minutes left in the game, bringing the score to 13-8.

The Raiders did not have long to rally before junior midfielder Kaitlin Belval scored her 16th goal of the year 14 seconds later.

Belval, who also won six draw controls, was one of four Terriers to be named to an All-Patriot League team.

Belval and senior defender and co-captain Maria Guerra were named to the second team, while Magnelli and sophomore attack Kailey Conry were named to the first team.

Colgate’s leading scorer senior midfielder Haley O’Hanlon put up the final goal of the evening with a low shot from within the eight-meter marking, but BU left the field victorious with the final scoreboard 14-9.

The Terriers will now face No. 1 seeded Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore for the conference semifinals.

“We’re excited, this is one step closer to our goal of winning a championship,” Robertshaw said. “We’re just going to put our heads down and go to work. You’re not going to change who you are, so we’re going to be the best versions of ourselves.”

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