The Boston University Field Hockey team may have lost its eighth consecutive game in a duel with the University of Maine on Sunday afternoon, but the Terriers walked away from New Balance Field with what head coach Sally Starr called a “moral victory.”
The Terriers (2-9, 0-2 Patriot League) lost 3-2 in a non-conference matinee against the veteran-led Black Bears (7-5).
“I really feel that we showed massive improvements in all facets of the game against an outstanding team,” Starr said postgame, adding that she was “absolutely certain” Maine would go on to win the America East conference and earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
The Terriers looked overmatched in the first half, as the Black Bears dominated possession and offensive zone time early on. Maine put pressure on BU junior goalkeeper Caroline Kelly and the Terrier defense from the outset, forcing five shots and drawing eight corner penalties in the first half.
Kelly and the Terrier defense fended off the series of attacks, and the teams headed into the break tied at zero.
Maine junior forward Madisyn Hartley broke the deadlock in the 35th minute of play, scoring on an assist from senior fullback Hannah Abbott to give the Black Bears a 1-0 advantage.
Conceding a goal, it seemed, sparked a fire under BU. The Terriers needed only 40 seconds to equalize, as junior midfielder and fullback Rachel Borzymowski netted her first collegiate goal off a corner.
BU’s next corner opportunity came three minutes later, and sophomore midfielder Thalia Steenssens put the Terriers in front, 2-1, with a gritty netfront finish.
The two goals wouldn’t be enough. In the fourth period, Maine grad student midfielder Hana Davis tied the game at two goals apiece on a second-chance effort in the 47th minute, and sophomore fullback Poppy Lambert gave the Black Bears the decisive 3-2 advantage five minutes later on a direct insert off a corner.
The few attempts the Terriers had to equalize late were easily quelled by Maine, who ended up winning possession, forcing a series of shots and drawing multiple penalty corners in the final minutes of play.
Starr said she was especially pleased with BU’s execution, both offensively and defensively, on penalty corners. BU limited the Black Bears to score just one goal from 13 corner opportunities, while the Terriers scored on two of their five corner chances.
Starr called BU’s corner defense “outstanding,” while noting that the team has spent lots of practice time honing its offensive corner strategy, which contributed to the team’s success on Sunday.
The Terriers will look to get back to their winning ways as they resume Patriot League play on Oct. 9 in a 12 p.m. matchup with Lafayette College on New Balance Field.