After securing a close 9-8 win against the United States Military Academy last Saturday, the Boston University women’s lacrosse team now boasts a six-game winning streak.
The Terriers (9-6, 5-3 Patriot League) now look to continue their good fortune in their last regular season matchup, where they will head to Annapolis, Maryland to face off against the United States Naval Academy Saturday afternoon.
The recent string of wins placed BU fourth in the conference, making the team eligible for placement in the Patriot League tournament.
With this success, however, the Terriers have seen some casualties along the way — the loss of senior attack Avery Donahoe, who was injured in early April when the team squared off against the University of New Hampshire.
BU head coach Liz Robertshaw stated that she cannot comment on the details of Donahoe’s injury but said that she is hoping to return as soon as possible.
“She’s been working very hard and it’s our goal to have her back, so she’s been working her tail off the field,” Robertshaw said. “That’s something we’re both working for, and if she gets the green light and she feels good about it, then I’m absolutely going to put her on the field.”
The game had been bittersweet for Donahoe, who scored eight goals against the Wildcats and was on track to set a new program record for most goals in a single game.
Donahoe has not played since that game, but still holds the highest goal count on the team with 35, with sophomore attack Kailey Conry in second with 25.
The Terriers have managed to maintain their win streak despite losing their leading scorer, and Donahoe’s absence has given some other players time in the limelight, especially the underclassmen.
“Two of our freshmen who have stepped up big time have been [attack] Ava Barry and [midfielder] Ryann Gaffney,” Robertshaw said.
Over the course of the season, Barry has earned 30 points total, with 22 goals and 8 assists. This makes her the team’s third best overall scorer as well as the leading freshman scorer.
Gaffney has also contributed to the team’s late season success. Although the Huntington, New York native did not start playing until midway through the season due to injuries of her own, Gaffney has become one of the team’s leading scorers since her debut against Lafayette College.
Having only played in nine games so far, Gaffney has already racked up 14 goals with two hat tricks and has put points on the board in all but two of her showings.
“She has a great sense of having fun and playing hard,” Robertshaw said of Gaffney. “A lot of people struggle when they’re thrown into their first game, but Ryann just goes and scores goals.”
Robertshaw also made light of what sophomore midfielder Mackenzie Howe has done for the team. Although Howe may not boast the same statistics as players like Barry and Gaffney due to her limited play time, Robertshaw considers her a critical asset on the draw control, having made 31 through the season.
“[She] definitely needs a lot of credit for the work she does,” Robertshaw said. “What she has done for us is huge, because she’s given us confidence on the draw and sets the tempo for the rest of the team.
In spite of the team’s winning streak, its next and final regular season opponent, Navy (13-3, 7-1 Patriot League), may prove to be a challenge. The Midshipmen are currently ranked second in the conference — only Loyola University Maryland sits higher, the only conference team to have beaten Navy.
With this success comes some high profile players, including senior midfielder Jenna Collins, who has contributed 66 goals and 19 assists for the Midshipmen this season.
Collins was named Patriot League Midfielder of the Week for last week’s performances against American University and Lafayette.
She collected 15 total points and earned her 13th and 14th hat tricks of the season in the two victories.
Teammate and sophomore attack Kelly Larkin leads the Patriot League in points per game with 5.50 and leads the team in assists with 39.
Navy is riding a four-game win streak. A fifth win would force the Terriers to play on the road in the opening round of the upcoming tournament.
“[The Midshipmen] bring a confident game of lacrosse,” Robertshaw said. “They’re very aggressive, similar to Army. I think that’s a service academy thing. You’re gonna see a very fast game, aggressive on both offense and defense. We need to bring our best game down there and play the style of lacrosse that we know.”