After a win at Nickerson Field against the College of the Holy Cross on Senior Day, the Boston University men’s lacrosse team will travel to Annapolis, Maryland to play their last game of the regular season against the United States Naval Academy Friday afternoon.
The Senior Day game saw BU take a commanding 12-6 lead in the third quarter, only to see Holy Cross (6-6, 3-4 Patriot League) go on a 4-0 run and bring the Terrier’s lead down to two. Sophomore attack Chris Gray and senior attack James Burr then capped the 15-11 win with two empty net goals.
BU head coach Ryan Polley said Gray and Burr have been extremely useful for the team’s offensive production.
“They’re just so fun to watch,” Polley said. “They’re just so special, they’re so locked in and they’re tremendous.”
The Terriers (10-4, 5-2 Patriot League) are heading into the final game having already have clinched a playoff berth for the Patriot League championship title for the third straight year.
BU cannot finish any lower than third in the standings and they have a chance to earn a first-round bye or possibly win the regular-season title with a win against Navy and a loss by either Lehigh University (8-6, 5-2 Patriot League) or Loyola University Maryland (10-3, 6-1 Patriot League).
Previous to the Holy Cross win, the Terriers upset No. 2 ranked Loyola Maryland. Polley said it’s a great feat for the Terriers to get big wins in April in order to clinch a playoff spot early.
“It’s huge,” Polley said. “To go 3-0 or maybe 4-0 [at the end of the season] … it’s all credit to the seniors playing these big games, playing with a lot of emotion, playing with a lot of energy and pressure.”
Navy (5-7, 3-4 Patriot League) has a chance to stop BU from getting one of the top two spots. The Mids have a chance to fulfill their own destiny and clinch a Patriot League playoffs with a win. Navy can still lose and make the playoffs with some help, but if they lose, and Holy Cross and Bucknell University (5-8, 3-4 Patriot League) win, Navy would narrowly miss the playoffs.
If the Mids want the chance to take down the Terriers and not have their playoff hopes lie in the hands of other teams, they have to get out of their recent funk. Last week, the Mids were blown out 9-18 by American Athletic Conference opponent Syracuse University (9-3, 2-2 ACC). Two weeks ago, Navy lost an 8-9 overtime barnburner against Army West Point (9-4, 5-3 Patriot League).
As long as the Terriers keep their defensive game strong, competing against Navy should be light work for the Terriers. The Mids are in the middle of the pack in the Patriot League for most statistics — they are fifth in goals per game, assists per game, and points per game.
Something Navy tends to struggle with often is penalty killing, as they are last in the Patriot League when it comes to killing off man-up opportunities. They also commit the most penalties per game in the Patriot League.
Navy’s weakness in penalty killing would not fare well with the Terriers, who lead the Patriot League in man-up goals and man-up scoring percentage. Playing clean lacrosse will be key for the Mids if they want to upset the No. 16 Terriers.
By Friday evening, all Patriot League teams will have finished their regular season schedules, and the Patriot League playoff seeds will be decided. The top two seeds will have a first round-bye and play the winners of the No. 3 vs. No. 6 seed game and the No. 4 vs No. 5 seed game. A BU win and a Lehigh or Loyola loss would allow the Terriers to gain the advantage of this first-round bye.