The Boston University women’s lacrosse team defeated Fairfield University 16-5 Wednesday, picking up their third win of the season.
Riding the coattails of a massive 20-2 win at the University of Hartford on Feb. 23, the Terriers (3-1, 0-0 Patriot League) came out strong against the Stags (3-2, 0-0 Metro Atlantic). BU head coach Lauren Morton said the Terriers’ previous experience against Fairfield contributed to Wednesday’s win.
“I think having the girls knowing they’ve gone into overtime with Fairfield before, we knew they were going to be a really strong team and put up a really good fight,” Morton said. “… I think that we were really well-prepared.”
At the start of the game, the two sides ran back and forth with strong draw controls on offense.
In the opening minutes, Stag midfielder Jillian Winwood scored the first goal of the game to gain a lead. The Terriers answered quickly with a goal at 23:19 from junior attack Kailey Conry to tie the game.
One minute later, the Terriers took a 2-1 lead off a strong draw control from senior midfielder Kaitlin Belval. They continued to put pressure on the crease with multiple shots from the offense.
Fairfield midfielder Taylor Mitchell brought the score to a tie game in a free position shot at the 20:17 mark. The Terriers continued to use their possession clock and patience in the crease to bring the lead up 3-2 with 18 minutes remaining in the period. Shots back and forth led to turnovers on both sides of the field.
After a ground ball pick up and goal from BU senior midfielder Kelly Matthews, Mitchell responded for Fairfield to decrease the deficit.
Up 5-3, the Terrier offense maintained possession and looked to feed the ball to multiple players running their routes through the 8-meter arc. Goalkeeper Olivia Conquest continued to make saves for the Stags despite multiple shots on net.
The Terriers kept strong possession into the final minutes of the half. A quick feed from Conry at the bottom of the crease set up sophomore attack Makenzie Irvine to elevate the lead to 6-3 for BU.
“Offensively, I think we certainly encouraged and continued encouraging them to play fast,” Morton said. “The amount of people that took shots and scored showed how much our team is really starting to gel.”
Junior goalkeeper Bianca Smith made a strong save off a free-position shot from Fairfield defense Erin Mammele with three minutes left in the half. Mitchell came back to bring the score to 8-4 in the final minutes of the first period.
With aggressive play on defense and 11 out of 11 clears total, BU kept its lead to the end of the first half and finished the opening frame up by four points.
More successful draw controls allowed the Terriers to extend their lead to 11-4 in the first five minutes of the second half.
“On the draw we did a really great job of waiting and getting multiple possessions,” Morton said, “and I think that’s something that we talked to the girls about, not taking it for granted.”
In multiple efforts on net from the Stags as the half continued, BU’s Smith made the saves needed to maintain the lead. Fourteen minutes into the second half, Winwood brought the score to 11-5 for Fairfield.
BU’s defense became more physical, sliding to double teams and frustrating Fairfield’s offense. With six minutes remaining, a yellow card was called against Stag defender Kennedy Slater, and BU gained a woman-up advantage.
A Terrier goal courtesy of Matthews brought the team’s lead up to 13-5 with five minutes remaining in regulation.
Freshman defense Riley Kokoruda made a strong play against the Stags to force a turnover with three-and-a-half minutes left, giving the Terriers the opportunity to net their 14th goal of the day.
“I was so impressed with the way she really stepped up,” Morton said about Kokoruda. “I think that ultimately,she was one of the best people on the field today, which was awesome to see.”
After winning two draw controls, BU stayed strong in their possession in the final minute, allowing junior midfielder Mackenzie Howe to increase the lead to 16-5. The game would finish that way 20 seconds later.
The Terriers will next face the University of Southern California at home on Nickerson Field on March 3. Morton said her team is excited and well-prepared as the season gets fully underway.
“I’m confident, and I think we have continued to push [the team] in practice, and I think they push each other,” Morton said. “What we plan to do is focus on how we prepare both offensively and defensively against [USC’s] scoring threats.”