By: Alex Smith
In 2013, junior Bridget Egan scored the opening goal for the Cardinal O’Hara Lions in the Catholic League Championship. Assisting the goal was senior Grace Boston. Two years and two graduations later, the pair can still look up in the huddle and find the comfort of a face from home.
Boston and Egan took very different paths to BU, despite sharing the same starting point. Hailing from Broomall, Pennsylvania, the duo currently play for coach Sally Starr and the #17 ranked Terriers.
Egan and Boston both attended Cardinal O’Hara High School, a private Catholic institution in Springfield, PA. The two had never played together before teaming up for the Lions.
“We kind of knew who each other were, we were from the same area, but we hadn’t played together,” said Boston, now a sophomore at BU.
“It was a ‘knew her name’ type of thing, playing the same sport and living close by,” added Egan, a freshman.
The two would get to know each other quickly, though, as they proved to be catalysts in O’Hara’s rise to the top of the Catholic League. Lion’s coach Marie Murphy headed the program throughout both players’ careers, and played a crucial role in their development.
“Our program was very intense, in a good way,” said Boston. “Coming into college, we understood how much time field hockey would consume, and she also taught us hard work. A lot of running, a lot of drills, it wasn’t just an ‘oh come play field hockey after school’ type of thing.”
Murphy, who took the job after her sister stepped down following the 2010 season, spoke proudly of her alums, and her experience coaching the Boston family.
“I knew Grace from coaching her older sister,” said Murphy by phone. “When Grace was in eighth grade, we had seen her play a couple of games. At that point, we knew she was going to be a big player for us.”
Murphy’s eye for talent proved true, as Boston dominated on the front line for the Lions, who cruised to two District championships during her career, and a Catholic League Title her senior season. Boston reached the elusive century mark, notching exactly 100 career goals for O’Hara to go along with 65 assists. She also captured 3 consecutive Catholic League Most Valuable Player awards.
Boston soon found herself wanted by many collegiate programs.
“It was my junior year, at festival, playing for my club team in Florida, when [the BU coaching staff] got into email contact with me,” said Boston. “I had visited other schools, like St. Joes and Boston College, but I fell in love with BU when I came in January and decided to commit. Having come to visit and seeing New Balance, that was a big part of it.”
“I remember when I was looking here, [coach Murphy] was definitely someone I confided in. She pushed me to come try this program,” said Boston.
“Grace is one of our players who could have really played anywhere,” Murphy said of her former star. “BU had a strong program, and a great group of girls. I saw that she really enjoyed her time there, and thought it would be somewhere where she could be successful.”
Murphy’s foresight again proved accurate, as Boston has established herself as a solid contributor in a stacked Terrier forward corps. She has appeared in all nine contests so far and is tied for third on the team with three goals in her rookie campaign. Her first collegiate goal came in BU’s dramatic 4-3 season opening win over the University of New Hampshire, as she redirected a fierce shot into the back of the cage. It was a big moment for Boston, who missed her entire freshman season to injury.
“It was really awesome to get it in the first game, but it was a really great shot from Kara [Enoch]. We were passing it well down the field that game and I happened to be in the right spot at the right time, and I was glad to give our team a boost in the first game,” said Boston.
Bridget Egan has had a more gradual start to her collegiate career. Egan has featured in three of the Terrier’s games this season, including most recently at Colgate. However, she is continually looking for ways to improve her game and to mature as a player, a trait coach Murphy noticed in her early on in high school.
“Bridget is a very smart player, she kind of takes everything in. She was the kind of player that you would tell her something once and it would click. Having her help our younger athletes was such a benefit to us,” said Murphy.
As an underclassmen, Egan embraces the opportunity to learn from those ahead of her on the depth chart. “At practice it definitely helps because we’ve got such talented teammates that can help your skills or learn concepts, even just watching them in games and watching film helps me add to my game.”
Egan’s path to BU was quite different than Boston’s, as she knew she wanted to attend the university before field hockey even entered the equation. Her older sister, Fiona, is currently a senior at BU.
“I wouldn’t say that [Fiona] was the main reason, it was definitely a big factor though, having family here makes it a lot easier to get used to. Another factor was the OT (occupational therapy) program that my sister is in, so I knew about that coming in. Having Grace on the field hockey side was also really helpful for me,” Egan said.
Despite their different paths to BU, the pair still buzzed with excitement when discussing their favorite memory playing under coach Murphy, bringing up the Catholic League title they won in 2013.
“That was something my freshman, sophomore and junior year, we lost that game all three years in a row,” Boston recalled. “After we won that game, just seeing how much it meant not only to us but to her, it made it so much better.”
What neither mentioned were their roles in delivering Murphy her first league title. Coach Murphy, however, was quick to set the record straight and assign credit where it was due.
“Bridget scored the first goal in that game, off an assist from Grace, and that memory is even sweeter now that they are going on together. That was easily one of the biggest reasons we won that game, and that title.”
The Broomall natives haven’t yet combined for a Terrier goal, but with five full seasons of collegiate play left between them, it would seem that an all-Broomall goal for BU is simply a matter of time.