By Alexa Podalsky
Boston University Field Hockey dropped its first game of its six-game homestand with a 1-0 loss against the Lafayette College Leopards (7-5, 4-1 PL) on Friday. Scoring the game’s lone goal in the third quarter, the Leopards’ offense just edged out the Terriers in the close matchup.
This loss comes after BU’s four last-minute wins, including two double-overtime wins. What set this match apart was the lack of control the Terrier offense had in the midfield allowing Lafayette to maintain control of the ball and create an environment with little shooting opportunity.
“I think we struggled in the first half quite a bit. I think we played a much better game in the second half. It was a much more competitive match,” BU Head Coach Sally Starr said in a post-game interview.
The first quarter of the game lacked action despite the ball rarely leaving BU’s side. The defensive line, led by junior Katie Devine and senior Brooklyn Lamb, was able to ward off all offensive pushes.
Most offensive gains from BU fell short due to a lack of communication and an inability to maintain possession when passing to each other.
In the second quarter, the Leopards’ offense made a push to the Terriers’ goal and received a penalty corner 46 seconds into the quarter. Freshman defender Katie Gibb passed the ball to junior midfielder Lineke Spaans as she made a shot for the goal that was blocked.
Lafayette made another attempt at the goal a few minutes later. Freshman midfielder Lea Good brought the ball over from the Terriers’ side and attempted a shot on goal that was saved by senior goalkeeper Kate Thomason. The Pennsylvania-based team maintained possession after the save, allowing Good to make another attempt for the goal, but the shot went wide.
The following plays once again featured an uneven offensive strength that weighed in favor of Lafayette. Despite neither team making a game-changing play, the ball spent little time on the Leopards’ side of the field.
The action picked up in the third period as Lafayette held their possession of the ball. Gibb received another penalty corner that met freshman midfielder Stella Malinowski’s stick and was blocked before reaching the net.
After some defensive action from Devine, the referee called for a reset. Right as the whistle blew, Spaans gained possession of the ball and immediately snapped it into the top-right corner of the net to give the Leopards the 1-0 lead.
The Terriers struggled to regroup, and the tension on the field rose. Senior midfielder Thalia Steenssens received her first of two penalty corners of the game shortly after — something that is uncharacteristic from past games.
Steenssens passed the ball to junior forward Payton Anderson as she made a shot on goal, but the ball was saved by Lafayette’s senior goalkeeper Emma Garvey.
The Terriers went into the fourth quarter trying to pull off what they did in the few games prior, making a last-minute offensive push to bring them to victory. However, they only made a few successful moves across center field that put them in a scoring position.
Steenssens received her final penalty corner of the game with seven minutes on the clock. After some passing, the ball met sophomore forward Caroline O’Brien’s stick and gave BU the best opportunity they could to even the score.
The ball flew toward the goal in a seemingly perfect position — but right as it was about to go in — Garvey intercepted the ball to make the save.
Cheers of “Great job, Emma” and “Way to go, white” exploded from the visitor’s side of the stands as Lafayette’s bench continued their rowdy cries to cheer on their team. But, on the Terriers’ side, both the sideline and the stands were quiet as if they realized their comeback story wouldn’t manifest.
With less than three minutes in the game, BU pulled Thomason to add another player on the field in hopes of sending the Terriers to overtime. But, with a strong defensive strategy of guarding the ball in the corner, BU couldn’t overcome the Leopards and were shutout 1-0.
Now, the Terriers will focus on an early weekday matchup against the No. 9 Harvard University Crimson on Tuesday.
“Harvard is probably gonna be one of the best opponents that we’ve seen all season,” Starr said. “They’re outstanding, so this is gonna be a very challenging match for us.”
When Starr was asked what the team would focus on going into practice this weekend, she responded that the team would work on making sure the ball had more opportunities to pass centerfield.
“We’ve really been working on our connections,” Starr said. “Connecting from the back to the mid to the striker line, something that we’re continuing to work on and try to get better at. We were good at it in segments, but we weren’t good at it for enough time to see results.”
The Terriers will face off against the Crimson on Tuesday, Oct. 17 at their home New Balance Field. The 6 p.m. matchup will be available for streaming on ESPN+.