Overcoming less-than-ideal weather conditions, the Boston University women’s lacrosse team will begin its inaugural season as a member of the Patriot League this weekend.
The team will travel to face the No. 1 University of North Carolina Saturday for a game that was originally scheduled this Friday due to inclement weather conditions.
Coming off of a 6-10 season in their final year as members of the America East Conference, the Terriers will look to make an immediate impact on their new conference. Projected to finish third in the Preseason Patriot League Poll, BU coach Liz Robertshaw is confident her team can exceed external expectations.
“These are all good teams and we haven’t played any of them for a long time,” Robertshaw said. “I think we need to get a feel for the teams on our schedule, get better every day, achieve our conference goals and work to get back into the NCAA Tournament.”
BU will have to overcome the loss of one of the most decorated players in school history, Danielle Etrasco. The Massapequa, N.Y., native, who graduated last year, is a member of the U.S. Women’s Lacrosse National Team and was a four-time First Team All-Conference attack. She finished her BU career with 192 goals and 248 points, both school records.
“It’s always hard to lose a leading goal-scorer,” Robertshaw said. “But I think the biggest strength of our team has always been when other players step up. The team acknowledges that we put a lot on their shoulders and our sophomores, juniors and seniors think often about the responsibility distributed among the team.”
This year’s seniors, including attack Elizabeth Morse, will try to fill the hole left by Etrasco’s departure. Morse, who was third on the team in scoring last season, will shoulder more offensive responsibility this season alongside fellow senior attack Sydney Godett. Sophomore attack Sofia Robins will look to build on her America East All-Rookie performance after leading all BU freshmen in points (17) and goals (15) last season.
On the defensive end, the Terriers are paced by senior defender Nell Burdis and senior defender Christie Hart. Burdis, a two-sport athlete who also plays for the field hockey team, finished second on the team last year with 31 ground balls. Hart was named a tri-captain as a junior last year and logged 14 forced turnovers in 13 starts.
“I’m excited for all of our seniors coming back this season,” Robertshaw said. “Our seniors are a very strong group, and they’re a group that have been exceptional in leading off the field as well as leading during the preseason and offseason.”
The Terriers will also return another key cog in their defensive machine in senior goalkeeper Christina Sheridan. In 14 starts last season, Sheridan saved over 40 percent of the shots she faced while allowing 13.13 goals per game.
“Having [Sheridan] back there gives us confidence, because our defenders know they can take risks,” Robertshaw said. “She defends the goal well and she gives the entire team a lot of confidence.”
There are some new faces coming in this season as well, with eight freshmen joining the team. Robertshaw will develop a balanced class this season, with one goalkeeper, two defenders, three midfielders and two attacks. As the first class to begin their BU careers as part of the Patriot League, Robertshaw has high hopes for the freshmen.
“I definitely think a couple freshmen are standing out,” Robertshaw said. “[Freshman attack] Taylor Hardison from Darien, Conn., is doing a great job. She does some great things. She’s confident, she’s tall and she will be on the field and make an impact on shots. Defensively, [freshman midfielder] Janelle Macone has really stepped up and played our midfielders well in practice. Our [freshman goalkeeper] Caroline Meegan has done a fantastic job too. She’s battling for that spot with Christina Sheridan, a senior, and she’s given us a lot to think about.”
As the Terriers begin their new season, Robertshaw said she understands the importance of this year’s campaign.
“The biggest thing for us is to make ourselves known and develop a presence in the Patriot League,” Robertshaw said. “We want to fight for our spot in the conference championship.”