The Boston University men’s lacrosse team is entering the 2020 season with a much younger lineup than in years past and, according to head coach Ryan Polley, there will be growing pains.
Polley said the game’s result was a sign of the team’s inexperience, but the Terriers (0-1) can only trend upward in the future.
“I think it’s a sign of our youth and our inexperience, and I think we get better from this,” Polley said. “If we’re going to have a great season, we need to get better week in and week out.”
The Terriers started four of their 19 freshmen in their 12-5 loss to the Providence College Friars (1-0) on Saturday.
Polley said the Terriers didn’t play at the level of intensity they needed to.
“I just think we were a little bit timid,” Polley said. “The lights were on and Providence [has] a great defense, I don’t take anything away from them, but I think we were a little intimidated.”
The season did not start the way the Terriers wanted. Providence midfielder Evan McGreen moved into an opening in the defense and fired an unassisted goal past senior goalie Joe McSorley to give the Friars a 1-0 lead two minutes into the opening quarter.
BU answered back just four minutes later when the Terriers utilized ball movement in front of the Providence net to find sophomore attack Timmy Ley on the left side of the net. Ley fired the ball past the Friar goalie’s legs to bring the game level.
A second goal from Providence a minute later gave the Friars a 2-1 lead heading into the media timeout.
With 1:13 left in the first half, BU tied the game up 2-2. Terrier freshman attack Louis Perfetto’s first collegiate goal was one he won’t forget as he was smothered by two Friar defenders but somehow flicked a no-look shot past a third defender and the goalie to even the score.
Providence quickly regained the lead and then doubled up within the first five minutes of the second quarter. Friar senior attack Matt Grillo came around the net, rolled off of two defenders and fired the ball into the net to give Providence a 4-2 lead.
The Friars’ assault continued as they extended their lead to 5-2. McSorley was burned by Friar sophomore long-stick midfielder Mike O’Grady’s laser, forcing Polley to call a timeout with nine minutes left.
Grillo rang the bell again in the second quarter as his teammate found him open in front of the goal to widen Providence’s lead to four goals with six minutes to go in the half.
Providence scored again with 15.9 seconds left in the half. With a 15-second difference between the shot clock and game clock, the Friars elected to run the shot clock down and found their sixth straight goal of the quarter with one second on the shot clock.
Heading into the break, the Terriers were outshot by Providence, 22-14, as the Friars held an 8-2 lead.
Despite lacking momentum for the entire second quarter, BU came out of the halftime break and scored on its first possession as freshman attack Vince D’Alto tallied his first career goal to cut Providence’s lead down to five goals, 8-3.
The Terriers continued to pick up momentum as the third quarter progressed. Senior midfielder Jared Nugent scored with 9:23 to go in the quarter to cut the Friars’ lead down to 8-4.
Providence answered with a goal of its own to kill BU’s momentum less than 60 seconds later to bring its lead back up to five goals.
The third quarter continued without a goal for six minutes before Providence scored another goal on a two-on-one attack with 2:19 left in the quarter to bring the Friars’ lead back up to six goals, 10-4.
Turnovers killed the Terriers as they had 28 turnovers on the afternoon, with only 14 caused by the Friar defense.
Polley said the team cannot turn the ball over that many times.
“We do absolutely have to clean up our turnovers,” Polley said. “28 turnovers is just not acceptable, especially when we’re not playing a high-transition pace game.”
The fourth quarter remained uneventful as the Friars held an 11-4 lead until the 6:27 mark when BU scored.
Providence put another goal in to close out the Terriers, 12-5.
BU will have six days off before it plays its next game. The Terriers are welcoming No. 12 Ohio State University (0-0) to Nickerson Field on Feb. 8, with the game slated to start at noon.