By Monet Ota and Rachel Cherry
The Boston University field hockey team dropped a pair of games to American University and Duke University last weekend in the team’s final homestand of the regular season. The Terriers (3-14, 1-4 Patriot League) struggled offensively against the Eagles (10-3, 5-0 PL) and the Blue Devils (6-10), scoring just one goal between the two games.
Oct. 23: American 3, BU 1
Despite a strong second-half effort, BU fell 3-1 against American on Saturday. The Terriers gained their footing in the second quarter and built momentum after halftime, but their lackluster first quarter and a late-game penalty corner led to an Eagles victory.
Coming off of a close 1-0 loss against Harvard, head coach Sally Starr called the matchup against the Eagles an “opportunity” and said the team came into the game “hoping to show that we can compete with the top team in the Patriot League.”
The Eagles started aggressively, drawing three corners in the first quarter and scoring twice. Senior fullback Maura Phelan capitalized on a penalty stroke in the fifth minute of play, and senior forward Aidan Rossman finished the quarter with a reverse chip goal. American outshot BU 7-0 in the first.
After an underwhelming first 15 minutes, the Terriers rebounded in the second quarter with two shots off of freshman forward Payton Anderson’s stick in the 17th minute of play. They began to mount pressure against the Eagles’ defense, taking four more shots and drawing two corners.
“I think we started playing to our capabilities,” Starr said after Saturday’s game. “We came out in the second quarter, third quarter and fourth quarter really creating. I think [American’s] goalie was a huge difference in the game for them today.”
Eagle sophomore goalkeeper Bryn Underwood came up large in the second quarter with four saves to keep the score 2-0, one of which came against Terrier junior midfielder Mikayla Crowley on a breakaway in the 30th minute.
American drew another corner early in the third, but senior forward Hannah Moser’s tip-in went wide of the goal. BU retaliated less than a minute later when Anderson struck with her team-leading eighth goal of the season, assisted by sophomore midfielder Thalia Steenssens.
The Terriers took three shots and drew a corner in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter but didn’t manage to execute on their scoring opportunities. An American goal off a corner in the 59th minute finished the game for a 3-1 American win.
With Saturday’s win, the Eagles clinched the top spot in the Patriot League.
“We made American earn the regular-season championship today,” Starr said. “I’m really pleased with how we competed.”
Oct. 24: Duke 3, BU 0
In their final home game of the season, BU fell 3-0 to non-conference opponent Duke early Sunday afternoon at New Balance Field.
The bleachers were filled with excitement and support for both the Terriers and the Blue Devils, as both teams welcomed a BU Family and Friends Weekend special.
For BU, Sunday marked the team’s Senior Day. Starr said her senior and grad student players’ time on the team has flown by.
“When you’re a freshman, you think it’s going to last forever, and then all of a sudden you’re a senior with your Senior Day,” Starr said postgame. “That’s the way they’re feeling about how fast it’s gone and really trying to continue to create good memories together.”
Duke came out on fire to start the match, with grad student midfielder MaryKate Neff scoring a goal in just the fourth minute. Soon after, with the Terrier defense still struggling, the Blue Devils came through with their second goal of the day in the ninth minute after a penalty corner, Duke’s second of the quarter.
Through the first quarter, the Terriers were struggling to put pressure on the Blue Devils as they dominated in both the offensive and defensive zones, keeping the Terrier offense at bay.
Junior goalkeeper Caroline Kelly had yet another standout game, totaling 12 saves in goal and keeping the Terriers in the game. Kelly specifically excelled throughout the second and third quarters, holding Duke scoreless. Still, the Terrier offense struggled to take control, with the ball on the Terrier defensive end for the majority of play.
BU’s best shot to get on the board came in the 51st minute when senior midfielder Rebecca Janes earned a corner. Anderson got her stick on the ball, but Duke sophomore goalkeeper Piper Hampsch made the save to keep the Terriers scoreless.
“I think our defense held strong,” Starr said. “We really could have created a 2-1 game … with that corner opportunity that we created.”
The Terriers will now travel to face the College of the Holy Cross Crusaders (6-9, 1-4 PL) on Friday at 3 p.m. for their last regular-season game.
“I think we need to really make sure that in that game, we come out ready to play in the first quarter,” Starr said.