Boston University’s men’s lacrosse lost a close 15-14 battle against the United States Military Academy in Friday night’s Patriot League matchup at Nickerson Field.
The Black Knights (11-3, 6-2 Patriot League) spoiled the Terriers (10-4, 7-1 PL) celebration of the senior class which took place moments before the game.
The loss also ruined the team’s hopes to finish with a perfect record against Patriot League opponents. Despite the outcome, the Terriers still hold the first seed heading into the conference playoffs.
“For now we’re just going to flush it. We’ll learn from it,” said head coach Ryan Polley. “It was a great regular season so this certainly doesn’t take away from that.”
The Black Knights were led by senior attack Brendan Nichtern, who tallied a game-high 10 points off two goals and eight assists. Junior attack Paul Johnson followed with four points off three goals and one assist.
The Terriers were led by junior attack Louis Perfetto who scored a season-high five goals along with two assists to tally seven total points. Junior attack Thomas Niedringhaus tallied three goals –– his first hat trick of the season.
Senior attack Timmy Ley extended his NCAA-leading 36 game scoring streak with a goal in the matchup while also adding two assists. Freshman defender Trey Brown also found the back of the net with one goal –– his first of the season.
While Polley credited the Black Knights’ strong preparation and execution, he cited the Terriers’ 22 turnovers as a driving factor in his team’s loss.
“Turnovers have been our Achilles’ heel all year,” Polley said. “We’ve been able to be good enough defensively and efficient enough on offense that it hasn’t really caused us to lose many games.”
As the team prepares to play skilled teams and are highly motivated to win in the conference playoffs, Polley underscored turnovers as a part of the game BU needs to improve.
“If we’re going to win the Patriot League Tournament, we got to get back to our fundamentals and back to playing cleaner lacrosse,” Polley said.
One of the bright spots in the Terrier loss was their strong defensive performance from junior defender Roy Meyer and senior goalkeeper Matt Garber.
Meyer collected six ground balls and caused three turnovers –– both were team highs.
“He causes such havoc in the middle of the field,” Polley said of Meyer. “He’s just so disruptive and so skilled off the ground.”
While Garber was able to save a season high 16 goals, the amount of Terrier turnovers led to an overwhelming 51 shots from the Black Knights.
“It’s hard to win the game when you turn the ball over that much,” Polley said.
Going forward, the Terriers next matchup will be on Friday at Nickerson Field as part of the Patriot League Tournament semifinal round. BU will face the lowest remaining seed in the playoffs as it tries to make their way toward its first ever Patriot League championship.
“Regardless of who we play on Friday night, we’re going to play a really good team and we’ve got to be cleaner,” Polley said. “I’m excited to get back to work.”