The BU men’s lacrosse team lost a gut-wrenching 11-10 game to the University of Utah Saturday at Nickerson Field. In one of the most competitive games of season so far, the Terriers came back from a 9-6 deficit in the fourth quarter to tie the game with just under two minutes to go. Despite the comeback, the Terriers were edged out in the second sudden-death overtime.
“It’s a 60-minute game, and I don’t think we made enough plays in the middle part of the game,” BU head coach Ryan Polley said in a press conference Saturday. “We just got to be better in our execution.”
The novel matchup with the Utes quickly proved to be a defensive fight. After the Terriers — who came in riding a three-game winning streak — put up two quick goals in the opening three minutes, the offensive efficiency stalled. The Utes responded with two goals of their own, and the home team didn’t score again until the final seconds of the quarter.
In the second, both teams were held without a goal for nearly 13 minutes. After the rare flurry of scoring in the final minutes, the Utes were able to tie the game at 4-4 before the end of the half.
The Terriers’ top goal-scorers, attackmen junior Timmy Ley and sophomore Louis Perfetto, were held largely in check for most of the game. The Utes played brilliant defense behind their own net and on the wings, preventing the attack from getting into the crease and forcing most of the Terriers offense to generate up top with the midfielders. Ley and Perfetto combined for just two goals and an assist in the game.
“It was hard to create offense,” Polley said. “[Utah] did a really good job on the ball. I think we struggled to win some of our short sick matchups, and when you’re not doing that … it can be difficult.”
In the second half, Utah was able to take a critical lead. They scored three goals off of transition plays and limited the Terriers to a single goal in the third quarter. After a man-up goal to start the fourth quarter, the Utes were up 8-5, in a game where goals were proving hard to come by.
The Terriers stormed back in the final stretch of regulation play, just as they did in tight-fought games against Army West Point and Colgate University. Perfetto scored a goal off a transition turnover, and on the following faceoff, long-pole freshman defender Dane DeGoler scooped up the ground ball and carried it downfield to score unassisted.
The crucial tying goal came on a man-up possession from junior attackman Matt Baugher, who had a showcase game with three goals.
“I thought Baugher played great today,” Polley said. “He scored a goal against Lafayette, had a really good week in practice, scored three goals I thought were huge … Louis, [Vince D’Alto] and Timmy have been great this year, they really carried us offensively, unfortunately, they can’t be great every game.”
Utah was able to net another goal following the Terriers’ surge, but BU freshman attackman Christian Quadrino responded for the home team — completing a hat trick of his own — to tie the game again at 10-10 forcing sudden-death overtime.
Although the comeback wasn’t enough to completely turn the game around, Polley said he was pleased with his team’s response to adversity.
“There’s not a lot of ‘die’ in this team,” he said. “This team really fights, and they have shown that in multiple games … I told the team I was proud of them.”
The Terriers couldn’t quite carry the momentum into overtime. Utah won both OT face offs, which are critical when a single possession can end the game. About half a minute into the second overtime, Utah sophomore midfielder Branden Wilson ripped a shot from the high slot, which bounced off the turf before slipping past BU junior goalie Matt Garber. The shot by Wilson was his second goal of the day and ended the game.
The out-of-conference loss will not affect the Terriers’ standing in the Patriot League. The team is still seeded at second in the North Division — behind Army and ahead of Colgate and the College of the Holy Cross. In its two losses this season, the Terriers have trailed at the final whistle by a total of three points.
“At the end of the day, it was a non-conference game, so it doesn’t have Patriot League ramifications,” Polley said. “But, certainly we wanted to keep this winning streak going. It was unfortunate that we couldn’t make a play at the end.”
The Terriers now stand at 5-2 on the season. The team will travel to Hamilton, New York this Saturday, returning to Patriot League competition against the Colgate Raiders.