Bucknell University handed the Boston University field hockey team its first defeat of the season Saturday. The loss came in the Patriot League Conference title game at New Balance Field, where the Terriers fell 2-1 in overtime. The Terriers are now 11-3 all-time in the Patriot League Tournament and ended the 2021 season 5-1.
BU entered off of a 5-1 victory over the College of the Holy Cross in the Patriot League semifinal Thursday. However, five starters and both goalkeepers on the roster were unable to play in the championship because of COVID-19 protocols. The No. 3 Bisons, who beat defending champions American University in a semifinal shootout Thursday, came into the game in pursuit of their first Patriot League title.
“I could not be more proud of just our effort, our guts, our courage and dealing with adversity really as well as you could ever deal with adversity,” head coach Sally Starr said in a press conference Saturday. “The last I’d say it was 30 hours we kept getting sucker punched … to be able to take Bucknell to overtime today was huge.”
A strong defensive effort on both sides of the field dominated the first half. Opportunities on net were hard to come by — no shots were taken by either team 20 minutes into the game. The first of Bucknell’s 14 total penalty corners occurred about halfway through the second quarter.
Bucknell played aggressively to close out the half, but BU’s strong defense and goalkeeping by freshman Pili Alvarez kept the score 0-0. The championship was Alvarez’s first appearance in goal.
“She’s fearless the way that she plays as a striker, she’s a diver, she’ll really go after it and I really felt that she could rise to the moment,” Starr said. “The first time she took actual shots in goal was with about 18 minutes before game time.”
The Terriers played more aggressively on the ball in the third quarter, overcoming staunch defense by Bucknell junior forward Emily Doyle and multiple Bison penalty corners. Terriers senior back Kathryn Scheerer scored a goal, her fifth of the year. Scheerer’s goal helped BU push the attack late into the fourth quarter.
“That’s Kat,” Starr said. “I mean, absolutely tremendous hockey player. Came up big for us this year with a lot of big goals. Absolutely. Came up huge for us today with a tremendous performance.”
Consecutive Bucknell penalty corners late in the game eventually broke through the Terriers’ defense, equalizing the match with under six minutes to go and forcing overtime. Senior back Kaelyn Long would then score for Bucknell on a penalty corner after seven minutes of extended play, clinching the first Patriot League field hockey championship in Bucknell history. Still, Starr had a positive outlook on the loss and completing the difficult season.
“COVID definitely won today, and I think we won today as well,” Starr said. “I really feel that in every sense of the word. When you want to walk off a field feeling that you left it on the field and you did your best that you can do, you’re victorious, and that’s what I feel about today’s game with this team.”
BU field hockey will return in the fall for the 2021 regular season.