The Boston University women’s lacrosse team’s 2018 regular season ended on a bittersweet note.
On the one hand, BU (9-7, 5-4 Patriot League) will move on to compete in the Patriot League tournament, something that seemed out of its reach earlier in the season. On the other, the team’s regular season ended with a crushing 23-6 loss to the No. 11 United States Naval Academy, bringing an abrupt end to its six-game winning streak.
With Navy (14-3, 8-1 Patriot League) one of the top ranked teams in the country, the Terriers faced a difficult matchup going in.
However, BU head coach Liz Robertshaw attributed the loss primarily to the team not coming in mentally prepared.
“Navy is a very good team,” Robertshaw said. “I don’t want to take that away from them, but I blame it on our mentality. I felt like we didn’t play for each other.”
Right out of the gate, the Midshipmen proved to be a formidable opponent for the Terriers.
Within the first four minutes of the game, Navy already put up three points on the scoreboard, with a pair of goals from seniors attack Julia Collins and midfielder Jenna Collins.
Despite the early lead for Navy, BU remained competitive.
Sophomore attack Kailey Conry started the offense for the Terriers when she worked through traffic from behind the cage to fire one in at the Midshipmen’s doorstep.
Following two more Navy goals, freshman midfielder Emily Vervlied launched the ball into the top right corner of the net on the man-up opportunity.
Following Vervlied was a goal from BU freshman attack Ava Barry, assisted by freshman defender Nicole Foringer, to make the game 5-3 with 13:07 remaining in the first half.
The Midshipmen responded with a barrage of offensive possessions that the Terrier defense had difficulty containing, giving way to an eight-goal run that took the game out of BU’s control.
At the conclusion of the first half, the score was 13-3 in favor of Navy.
“Offensively, we were dropping passes and not doing great on the draw controls,” Robertshaw said. “Defensively, we weren’t playing as aggressively as we normally do.”
Hoping to chip away at their deficit, the Terriers came into the second half more invigorated, but Navy continued to respond with more goals of its own.
Junior midfielder Kaitlin Belval fired a ball at the net through traffic, where it eventually met twine, only for Midshipmen senior midfielder Mackenzie Orr and sophomore attack Kelly Larkin to score back-to-back goals to put the deficit at 11.
Sophomore midfielder Lexi Lewis was met with a similar response, scoring off a pass from freshman midfielder Ryann Gaffney, which Midshipmen junior attack and midfielder Meg O’Donnell responded to with another pair of goals.
As the second half progressed, BU’s frustrations were evident, with the team drawing numerous fouls. Collectively, the team was called for six yellow cards, one green card and 24 fouls.
With a little over 15 minutes left in regulation, Vervlied would go on to secure one more goal for the Terriers on a bounce shot.
For the final 15 minutes of the game, the Midshipmen kept the Terriers scoreless as they continued to fire shot after shot at BU senior goalkeeper Christine Laible, adding six more goals to their already mountainous lead.
Navy’s offensive dominance also showed in its shot count, putting 37 shots on goal to BU’s 16.
Despite the rough end to the regular season, a handful of individual players saw some highlights.
For Vervlied, her two goals made it her highest-scoring game of the season, putting her at eight goals total. On the other end of the field, Laible finished the game with a career high of 14 stops, although the Midshipmen managed to score 22 goals against her.
The loss not only ended the Terriers’ winning streak, but was also a significant blow to morale. However, for the players and the coaches, there is no time to dwell in the past.
With the conclusion of the regular season, BU finished at the No. 5 seed going into the Patriot League tournament, with Navy finishing at No. 2.
The Terriers will play against the No. 4 seed Colgate University in a quarterfinal matchup on Tuesday.
“We don’t have a lot of time to sulk,” Robertshaw said. “We’ve got to rebound, turn things around. I don’t care what the outcome is at the end of the day if we can fight hard, fight for each other and really put everything on the line.”