Playing the number one ranked team in the country is always going to be a formidable challenge. Sunday afternoon was no different, as the Boston University field hockey team fell to the University of Connecticut by an 8-1 margin.
BU head coach Sally Starr knew it was not going to be an easy matchup with the Huskies (7-0) . With a full week of practice leading up to Sunday’s tilt, the Terriers (4-3) focused on improving corner defense, taking accurate shots and finishing on goals. The team struggled in these aspects of the game during their first two losses of the season against the University of Albany and the University of Massachusetts.
Starr was pleased with her defense’s improvement on covering penalty corners against the Huskies.
“Our penalty corner defense was outstanding today,” Starr said. “UConn is a team that if you don’t defend them well they can score on 50 to 70 percent of their corners, and I think our corner defense was much, much improved today.”
Despite a valiant effort on corner defense, it was not enough for the Terriers to shut down one UConn star, senior forward Charlotte Veitner. She had a hand in almost all of the Huskies scoring plays with an offensive performance consisting of 4 goals and 3 assists.
However, Starr put blame on her team’s lack of deny defense and double teaming for the success Veitner found offensively.
“She had some easy goals today, she probably had some goals today that were some of the easiest goals she’s going to get all season,” Starr said.
UConn got on the scoreboard first at 11:23 minutes with a goal from no one else but Veitner.
Two minutes later marked the only time that the Terriers responded with a goal when junior Ally Hammel fired a shot that hit the post, allowing Miya Denison to score off the rebound to tie the game 1-1.
The Huskies did not allow another goal from the Terriers for the rest of the game, but responded with 7 more of their own. The first 4 came within just 10 minutes of each other to push the Huskie lead to 5-1.
At the 23:31 minute mark, UConn’s Karlie Heistand shot from the top of the circle to score her first goal of the season off an assist from teammate Barbara van den Hoogen, officially putting the Huskies in the lead 2-1.
Less than 10 minutes later, Vietner scored her 10th goal of the season.
And just two minutes later, Veitner did it again. She scored again off a rebound. Then, she lined up a pass to teammate Svea Boker in front of the net for a goal just one minute later. Boker’s goal put the Huskies at 5-1 advantage at the end of the first half.
Undoubtedly, Veitner and Boker recreated a version of that same play just two minutes into the start of the second half — a Veitner assist for a Boker goal, her second of the game and third of the season, putting UConn up 6-1.
At the 44:58 mark, Veitner assisted again to teammate Hoogen’s for her second goal of the season, giving UConn a 7-1 lead.
Finally, at the 65:19 minute, Veitner scored the final goal of the game, her fourth goal of the game, and her 12th goal of the season, for a final score of 8-1.
“We gave them a lot of easy goals today just by poor fundamental defense,” Starr said. “The game plan was to just compete with them, to play good hockey, and I thought we had some presses that could work really well that could set up some good offensive opportunities for us and I think UConn was very, very good today, but I think that we stopped ourselves more than UConn stopped us quite honestly.”
Junior goalkeeper Kathleen Keegan still made 5 saves against the Huskies.
The Terriers head back to Boston with their third loss of the season in one of their toughest match ups. After five games on the road, the Terriers will finally be back on New Balance Field at BU to take on Lafayette College on Saturday in hopes of a Patriot League victory.
Starr said she looks forward to having a good week of practice before taking on a conference rival on her home field next weekend, and using the UConn game as a mechanism to improve moving forward.
“The bad news is that we definitely could’ve competed a lot better against UConn,” Starr said. “The good news is I think it’s going to be an outstanding video tape for us. It’s just fundamental things we need to do better and it exposed things that we do need to better and sharpen up on.”