Field Hockey, Sports

Patriot League-leading field hockey look to continue dominance versus Lehigh

Senior midfielder and co-captain Allie Doggett in a Sept. 22 match against Colgate University. MADDIE MALHOTRA/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

After a close double-overtime win against Bucknell University, the No. 18 Boston University field hockey team will aim for a 5-0 conference record when it squares off against Lehigh University Saturday.

The double overtime triumph against Bucknell (7-6, 2-2 Patriot League) was another display of BU’s clutch performance in overtime. The squad is now 3-0 in overtime games, where they knocked off the Bison, Northwestern University and American University.

Head coach Sally Starr emphasized the confidence she has in her team during close contests.

“[With] the formation that we’re playing,” Starr said. “We have a lot of weapons in overtime and how we can attack it.”

The Terriers (8-5, 4-0 Patriot League) will then face No. 5 University of Connecticut at home the following day. The Huskies (12-3) eliminated BU in the NCAA tournament last season.

Lehigh (2-13, 1-4 Patriot League) comes into the contest having lost 10 of their last 11 and hope to find some momentum during a tough season.

The Terriers meanwhile, will look for their 15th straight regular-season conference win, dating back to 2016. 

Two BU players were recognized with individual Patriot League awards this week.

Junior fullback Allie Doggett earned Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week honors for her game-winning goal in the second period of overtime versus Bucknell.

Freshman midfielder Rebecca Janes also won Patriot League Rookie of the Week after scoring a goal of her own in the 18th minute of the same contest.

It was the second goal of the freshman’s collegiate career.

For the Terriers, sophomore forwards Petra Hall and Ailsa Connolly each scored six goals this year, tied for the team lead. Both have also notched two assists and rank in the top 10 of the Patriot League in total points, each with 14.

Meanwhile, the Mountain Hawks have struggled to generate goals all season.

They rank second to last in the conference in scoring, with just 18 goals in 15 games. They also are near the bottom in shots generated per game, creating 10.33 chances on average.

The greatest difference between the two sides is in the defensive numbers.

Lehigh has the highest scoring average allowed of Patriot League teams, giving up over 4.132 goals per game. In contrast, BU is allowing just 2.034 goals per contest.

However, the Mountain Hawks do boast an exceptional goalkeeper in junior Paige Innarella — she has racked up 87 saves this season, ranking second in the conference. She also sports a save percentage of .713.

Starr noted that BU has to keep on attacking well in order to pressure the goalkeeper.

“Just continue the things we’ve been working on day-to-day, game-to-game,” Starr said. “Attacking as a unit, trying not to be too individualistic in the circle, really looking to utilize each other. Maybe making the extra pass to try and get around [Innarella].”

For the Terriers, the upcoming game could have major playoff implications.

BU needs to win just one more Patriot League match to secure both the top seed and home field advantage for the conference playoffs.

They have two chances to clinch: against Lehigh, and Oct. 26 versus the College of the Holy Cross.

The Terriers’ defense needs to be at the top of their game the next day against UConn. The Huskies are second in the nation in scoring, averaging 4.27 goals per game.  

UConn has lost three of its last five games, but all three losses were against teams ranked in the top five at the time the games were played.

In addition to the 3-1 loss in the NCAA tournament, the Huskies and BU met during the regular season and it was all UConn — the Huskies rattled off seven unanswered goals to roll to an 8-1 win en route to a perfect 23-0 record and a national title.

Starr said she feels the team’s past success adds to the team’s winning mentality.

“I think that definitely helps us to go in with a lot of confidence,” Star said, “… knowing that we’ve been successful in three overtimes so far.”

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