Lacrosse, NCAA, Sports

Women’s lacrosse drops home opener versus No. 22 UMass

The Boston University women’s lacrosse team suffered their second defeat of the season Sunday, in a 13-23 loss to University of Massachusetts Amherst on Nickerson Field.

The Terriers came into their home opener after a difficult loss to Stony Brook University Feb. 21. UMass was ranked No. 22 in the country going into the game Sunday.

Boston University women's lacrosse playing against Hartford University
Boston University women’s lacrosse in a Feb. 16, 2020 game against Hartford University. The Terriers lost 13-23 to the University of Massachusetts Amherst Sunday. HANNAH YOSHINAGA/ DFP FILE

“I think we’ve been tested the last two weekends,” BU head coach Lauren Morton said in a press conference Sunday. “They’re a really veteran group, but I think for us we should have some confidence that if we can kind of fix some things, we’re moving in the right direction.”

The home team responded well to the challenge in the first half. After giving up the first goal, the Terriers went back and forth with the Minutemen. After pulling ahead 2-3, the Terriers lost the lead, but kept the game close with the ranked opponent. BU concluded the first half down 8-11. 

Sophomore midfielder Jennifer Barry was able to win multiple face-offs in the first half, securing 10 for the game, as well as the team’s first goal. Senior midfielder Emily Vervlied also had two goals and an assist in the first 30 minutes. 

The Minutemen started to open the game up in the second half, scoring just over 30 seconds into the period. UMass also capitalized on Terrier mistakes, forcing nine caused turnovers in the game. The visiting team had eight different players net goals in the final 30 minutes of play. The scoring blitz was led by senior attack Haley Connaughton, who finished the game with five goals and four assists.

Morton said turnovers were a main reason why the game got out of hand. BU ended the match with 21 total turnovers. The Terriers had trouble settling the ball down off of the fast break, pushing some haphazard passes that ended up going in the wrong direction.

“We’ve just got to be able to make sure we’re taking a little bit better care of the ball,” she said. “And making sure that the turnovers we are making are really good turnovers. And that they’re aggressive turnovers, that they’re turnovers looking to score rather than just some casual possession turnovers.”

Morton also highlighted the team’s need to minimize self-inflicted obstacles. The Terriers had 16 fouls on the game, and three of the Minutemen’s goals came off of free position shots. 

“We need to limit some of our fouling,” Morton said. “I think that that’s something that we’ve really noticed and tried to be able to reel in a bit, just because I think it’s given away some possessions and some easy opportunities to people.”

The Terriers played hard all the way through the final buzzer, and the home team’s bench was audibly energetic even as the score climbed for UMass. The final two goals were both netted by the Terriers, coming first from senior attack Ava Barry and then Vervlied. 

Despite the end to what might have become a close-fought competition, The Terriers held their own. The back-to-back losses have come at the hands of two ranked opponents, and some BU players have had good starts to the season. Specifically, Vervlied and sophomore midfielder Claire Gola, who both notched three goals and two assists in the losing effort.

The Terriers now stand at 0-2 on the season, and they will have a week to prepare for their next match. If the current schedule holds up — a consistent uncertainty due to COVID-19 — they will travel to Burlington, Vermont to play the University of Vermont Catamounts March 7.

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