The Boston University field hockey team closed out its regular season with a win Sunday against Lehigh University, clinching the No. 1 seed in the Patriot League Tournament. The Terriers (4-0) finished the regular season undefeated and secured hosting rights for the Patriot League semi-final at New Balance Field.
Lehigh (2-3) could have secured a spot in the Patriot League Tournament with a win, but the loss ended the Mountain Hawks’ season.
Prior to the game, the six senior members of the team were honored with flowers, and head coach Sally Starr praised the team’s effort during this difficult season.
“A lot of [the players] haven’t played for a month,” Starr said in a press conference Sunday. “But, I just really am so proud that we were able to finish 4-0 and 12 points, 12 huge points, which really gives us the opportunity now to host a conference tournament.”
The Mountain Hawks started the game offensively with senior midfielder Lenke Havas, but on the defense they were playing with senior backup goalie Stephanie Brabender. On the other side, BU’s senior back Kathryn Scheerer excelled on both ends of the field, scoring her team-best third goal of the season Sunday.
“It was a tough game today,” Starr said. “Lehigh really battled tough. We went up 2-0, they came back 2-2. And then, I just loved that our team was able to finish the game 5-2. I just really felt that we competed better in the second half.”
Terriers senior forward Liz Ryan and Scheerer found the net quickly, scoring two goals in under three minutes at the start of the game. BU seemed positioned to dominate the rest of the quarter, but the Mountain Hawks rallied after a quick-response goal by Havas, her third of the season, which cut the lead in half.
Momentum slowly shifted to Lehigh, who found their stride going into the second quarter — Lehigh’s freshman midfielder Julia Gatelein eventually scored, tying the game 2-2 at halftime.
“They were beating our press a lot,” Starr said. “We were allowing way too many holes, some numerical disadvantage through the midfield that we needed to solve. Quite honestly, our hotline defense of getting back and covering the dangerous lanes wasn’t as good as it needed to be, and I think that that’s got a lot to do with not playing [for three weeks].”
The second half opened softer, but BU was able to make the adjustments to break through Lehigh’s defense later in the third quarter. Terriers freshman forward Tess Csejka and sophomore forward Ellie McIntyre scored back-to-back — the latter on a successful deflection in front — to build up another two-goal lead.
BU would go on to score a fifth goal, Ryan’s second of the day, in the final minutes of the game — cementing a victory for the Terriers and their chance to play in the Patriot League Tournament semi-final at home.
“We’ll be much better at it next Thursday,” Starr said. “[College of the] Holy Cross is very good this year. I’m going to be anxious to see who wins this game between Colgate and Holy Cross. Both teams have really improved a whole lot.”
Holy Cross went on to win its game Sunday 2-1 and will play BU Thursday on New Balance Field at 12 p.m.