The Boston University field hockey team beat Yale University, 3-2, in a thrilling overtime game Sunday afternoon at New Balance Field.
Coming off a 2-1 road win over Lafayette College on Sept. 20, the Terriers (4-3, 1-0 Patriot League) were looking to extend their win streak over the struggling Bulldogs (1-5), who have won just one of their last five games.
“This team is really showing that we’re maturing, that they’re learning from mistakes. They’re getting better,” said BU coach Sally Starr. “Our Northwestern [University] game, our Stanford [University] game helped prepare us to be successful in this type of game.”
BU came out strong to start the match, as sophomore forward Amanda Cassera recorded a goal on a rush up the left side in the third minute to put the Terriers up, 1-0. Junior midfielder Sofi Laurito, who ranks second in scoring on the team with seven points, assisted the goal.
Shortly after the goal, the Bulldogs began to tighten up on defense and limited BU’s chances on offense.
“[Yale] threw everything in the kitchen sink at us,” Starr said. “The way they stretched us defensively, we had to make some adjustments.”
The Terriers recorded a total of 11 shots in the first half, but struggled with capitalizing on their opportunities despite having six penalty corners. In the 22nd minute, Yale scored its first goal from freshman Jessie Accurso, tying the game 1-1.
The momentum from the Bulldogs’ first goal carried into the second half, with the Yale defense suffocating the BU offense. In the 40th minute, Yale went up a goal due to a score from freshman Carol Middough off a shot from the middle of the circle.
Despite the deficit, Starr said she remained optimistic in the outcome of the game.
“What I love about this team is that, and they’ve done it all year, we get scored on, we come back and we score a goal,” Starr said. “It’s very seldom that we don’t do that.”
The Terriers were able to defend the Bulldogs for the remainder of the half, highlighted by clutch saves from senior goaltender Valentina Cerda Eimbcke. The team led Yale in shots 8-5 in the second half and received four penalty corner chances but struggled with maintaining control of the ball. Toward the end of the half, Starr called a timeout.
“We got ourselves in a more attacking shape after that timeout,” Starr said. “I told them just keep playing hockey. Just don’t get frantic, don’t get frazzled, just keep playing the game. And I said we have more than enough time to win this game.”
Finally, after pulling Eimbcke with three minutes left in the game, the Terriers scored in the 69th minute, tying the game, 2-2, off the stick of sophomore forward Taylor Blood — marking her first collegiate goal.
With the game knotted at two goals at the end of regulation, the match moved into overtime, with the Terriers eventually earning a penalty corner.
“We got the ball, we controlled it, we got it down in the circle and got a penalty corner,” Starr said. “The biggest thing in overtime is to get that first penalty corner because it’s such a huge advantage.”
The Terriers dominated most of overtime and were able to capitalize on their penalty corner in the 74th minute. Junior fullback Rachel Coll scored off a pass from the right side of the circle from sophomore midfielder Hester van der Laan, giving the Terriers their second win in a row.
“We had to be a little bit more patient, and I think we did that right in the beginning of overtime, coming up with a good tackle, which changed the possession piece, which changed our ability to get the ball up on the attack,” Starr said. “This is one of those games that absolutely was an ugly win for us but it was a gutsy, ugly win for us. As a team, they weren’t going to quit, and we played our best hockey when it mattered most.”