Before the Boston University women’s lacrosse team’s season began yesterday afternoon, much talk had centered on the offensive skill of senior captain Sarah Dalton. The returning goals (71) and points (84) leader from last year’s America East championship and NCAA Tournament team was ready to guide this season’s attack to a repeat run.
But by the end of the game at Nickerson Field against the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Dalton was far from the focal point of attention for the Minutewomen defense. When the final horn sounded, the scoreboard read 15-5 in BU’s favor, and seven different Terriers had found the back of the net, including five players with multi-goal games.
‘[Spreading the offense] is our focus and team dynamic,’ BU coach Liz Robertshaw said. ‘We don’t want just one goal scorer. We need seven attackers on offense. That’s what makes us dangerous and gives everyone a chance to be big.’
Yet early in the game, no one was playing big as neither team’s offenses clicked. The Terriers missed several wide shots in the first 10 minutes of the matchup, while the Minutewomen finally got on the board first when returning points leader sophomore Jackie Lyons cut up the middle and scored at the 21:29 mark.
The Terriers responded by finally finding the net twice in the next few minutes and eventually building a 5-1 lead. Yet the home team went into the intermission with just a 5-3 lead, reeling from two UMass goals in the last seven minutes, including another from Lyons. The Minutewomen also held the advantage in shooting percentage, 75 percent to 42 percent.
‘In the first half, our shooting wasn’t so great,’ Robertshaw said. ‘I told the girls to settle down and play. We’re Boston University lacrosse.’
Then the Terriers started playing like it.
Junior Xan Weitzel opened the second-half scoring with a wrap-around from behind the net at 27:33, then struck again two minutes later with a low trickler to the left corner at 25:13. These points came in addition to her pair of assists in the first half for Dalton and freshman Hannah Frey’s first collegiate and go-ahead goal.
Twenty seconds after the Minutewomen cut BU’s lead to three with 23:35 to go, junior Traci Landy took a pass from Weitzel and fired a bullet straight from the top of the key to make the score 8-4. From that point on, the Terriers outscored the visitors 7-2 as the shooting barrage continued, shooting 10-of-15 (67 percent) in the second-half and making their way to the back of the cage behind the sticks of various players in various ways.
Free position goals, one-timer goals, driving attack goals, well set-up goals ‘-‘- you name it. Even the freshmen got in on the scoring action. With less than 10 minutes remaining in the contest, freshman Annie Stookesberry checked into the game and redirected a feed from junior Erica Baumgartner for a tally at 8:03.
‘About five seconds after she got on the field, she got her first collegiate goal,’ Robershaw said. ‘That motivated the team and got the girls excited.’
At that point, the damage had long been done. When the dust settled, Landy had scored a career-high four goals. Weitzel had a hat trick and three assists, collecting a career-high six points. Dalton, Frey and sophomore Rachel Collins tallied a pair of goals apiece. Stookesberry and junior McKinley Curro each notched a single goal.
After yesterday’s offensive fireworks, BU’s future opponents must worry about more than Dalton. They are now forced to pick their poison from the multi-pronged attack of the Terrier offense.