Women’s Lacrosse: Stevenson’s hot start continues in BU’s win over UNH

By Joe Eachus

Despite the freezing wind whipping through West Campus, Elle Stevenson continued her heater of a start to the 2024 season as Boston University women’s lacrosse (2-0, 0-0 PL) picked up the win in their home opener, 18-14 against the University of New Hampshire (1-1, 0-0 AEC) on Wednesday.

“A really solid three quarters. We were really disciplined in terms of what our game plan was. As UNH changed things defensively, we responded very well. For us it’s just taking care of business and being able to play a full four quarters,” coach Lauren Morton said.

BU’s lead was as many as ten goals in the third quarter, but UNH was able to rattle off a 7-1 run late in the fourth to make the game much closer by the final buzzer.

Stevenson scored five goals for the second straight game, vaulting her near the top of NCAA leaders in both goals and points. 

“One of the biggest things I’m so proud of is that [Stevenson] really embraced developing as a freshman [last year]. For her, she’s found some great opportunities. Her versatility, being able to shoot from the outside, being able to dodge, she fed today and finished on the inside. She’s really just scratching the surface,” Morton added. “We’ve got a lot more speed [on offense]. Our midfield is fundamentally strong. Overall, this is one of the most connected offensive groups. They get on the same page, they’re organized… they’re becoming a cohesive group.”

There were several firsts for the Terriers on the evening: Leah Hodgins and Reilly Walsh each scored their first collegiate goals, with Hodgins tacking on a second soon after. Natalie Aiosa also made her first collegiate start as a true freshman following Reilly Agres’ injury in the season opener against Merrimack.

“All of them have been incredibly impactful. The confidence [Aiosa] gives the defense… Leah has really stepped up on the draw, and it’s been good to see just how well-rounded they’ve developed in just our second game.

UNH’s Hannah McCarthy opened up the scoring just 1:17 into the first quarter following a free-position rip past Aiosa. The game quickly turned into a back-and-forth battle for the entire first quarter, with the two teams never separated by more than one goal.

“You’re settling in in the first quarter, to get a sense of how [the opponent is playing]. Early in the season, you only have some fall film, so it’s definitely just getting a sense of what’s working for us. I thought we rushed a few things in the first quarter. As you settle in, we’re able to make some good adjustments,” Morton said.

Early in the first quarter, senior captain and starter Kendall Sims went down awkwardly in transition, and left the game with an undisclosed lower body injury. Sims, who had 18 points in 12 games in 2023, scored four points (2 goals, 2 assists) in last week’s matchup against Merrimack. 

BU pulled away in the second frame, heading to the locker room with an 8-5 lead, before turning the heat up on the Wildcats in the third quarter as the Terriers stretched their lead to five goals.

The lead became 17-7 in the fourth, but UNH answered back in the final five minutes thanks to several free-position goals amidst a 7-1 run. It proved to be too little, too late for the Wildcats.

“We got some things to talk about for [Saturday’s game against] Iona. We got away from what had worked. We got undisciplined, we got away from winning possession off the draw. We’ve got a really quick turnaround to Saturday, so it’s always good to have some things to work on,” Morton said.

Women’s Lacrosse is back in action when they host Iona on Saturday at Nickerson Field, with opening draw scheduled for 1 p.m. The game will stream on ESPN+.