The Boston University field hockey team has not been overmatched often in the past month. But in the Terriers’ matchup against No. 21 Boston College Sunday afternoon, BU looked disjointed, overwhelmed and a step too slow.
The Eagles (7-9) pulled away with a pair of third-quarter tallies to earn a 3-1 rivalry win over the Terriers (8-8, 4-1 Patriot League) in Newton on Sunday.
“We’re just all feeling very disappointed,” head coach Sally Starr said. “I don’t think we brought our best game to the field today.”
BC unleashed an aggressive, unrelenting press throughout the contest, generating 31 total shots to BU’s five. The Eagles also earned nine penalty corners, while the Terriers drew just three.
BC senior midfielder Lois Lekawael tallied the opening goal on a penalty corner less than three minutes into the game.
BU battled back to keep the score 1-0 at the end of the first quarter, and then started to assert themselves on the offensive end in the second quarter. The Eagles retained their possession and continued to challenge BU senior goalkeeper Caroline Kelly with difficult shots, but the Terriers finally found ways to break into the offensive zone.
The newfound intensity paid off near the end of the half, when sophomore forward Payton Anderson rifled in her fourth goal of the week on a penalty corner to bring BU level at the half.
“I thought we started playing some of our best hockey at the end of the first half,” Starr said. “We just had to sustain that more than we did.”
BC quickly regained momentum in the third quarter. The Eagles’ press suffocated any semblance of offensive life for the Terriers. The Eagles jumped on BU turnovers and peppered Kelly with shots and netfront chances. BC took 14 shots in the quarter and cashed in twice — first on a breakaway goal by junior forward Kara Heck and then again less than three minutes later after senior forward Margo Carlin chipped in a rebound.
The Eagles have now won their last five matchups against BU, and extended their all-time series lead to 23-18-3.
“Today, we just got dribble-itis … (we) created way too many unforced turnovers, and we hurt ourselves,” Starr said. “We would have to bring our ‘A’ game to beat them today, and I think we only brought about our ‘B-minus’ or ‘C’ game.”
Prior to Sunday’s loss, BU had posted a 4-1 record in October, including wins over No. 25 American University and No. 23 University of Maine.
BC’s 7-9 record is deceptively unspectacular. The Eagles have faced off against eight of the top 15 teams in the country and battled top-ranked University of North Carolina to a close 4-3 loss.
“They have 11 very good players on the field, and they have the ability to bring some very good talent off the bench,” Starr said about BC. “They’re able to maintain a really fast pace of play.”
BU will look to regroup next Sunday in its regular season finale at Bucknell before the Patriot League tournament.
“When you play that fast, that effective offensively and defensively, it’s really difficult to play against,” Starr added. “That’s the lesson we’re going to take out of this BC game, and really try to emulate more of what BC did in our game.”