By: Marisa Ingemi
For the first time in program history, Boston University has a full senior class this season.
The Terriers head into the 2017 season with 17 seniors, all of whom have been with the program since the start. With four recruiting classes, it has created a different environment and urgency around a team looking to compete.
“This is a big year,” said head coach Ryan Polley. “It feels better and different with 17 seniors and they’ve done a great job.”
“I think having seniors, it being their final year, it sort of increases the urgency,” said sophomore attack-man James Burr. “We were close to going to the Patriot League tournament last year, and I think everyone is fully committed this year and wants to get into the tournament and the seniors are leading the way.”
One of those seniors is Cal Dearth, a midfielder who was slowed down by injury last season. Despite having hamstring trouble last year, Dearth is ready to go for the opener at Providence and expectations are high.
“We are expecting a big year from Cal,” said Polley. “He had some great games [last season], we can’t beat Navy, we can’t beat Harvard without Cal having monster games, and Colgate comes to mind, some huge games that we needed to win. He stepped up and is incredible, but other games he can be more aggressive. The way he attacks the defense, we try to get the ball in his hands a lot and give him situations where he’s going to succeed. He had a big fall and we’re expecting a lot from Cal.”
“Rehab with hamstring, there’s been no problems with that,” said Dearth. “Working with the training staff, and feeling good in practice.”
Another senior battling health at times is Sam Talkow. The face-off specialist is ranked as one of the best in the nation, but teams approached him with long poles last season and mixed up the way they faced him.
Talkow himself is healthy now, but as one of the Terriers’ biggest weapons, the team is conscious of keeping him on the field.
“We’re trying to limit his reps in practice,” said Polley. “It’s a really physical position and he’s on the smaller side. Anything we can do to limit the amount of hits that he takes in practice and in games if we get ahead, we have a nice match-up on our second, we’re certainly going to try not to wear him out, that’s a major concern. Sam is a competitor, he wants to take every face-off, so it’s a good problem to have but it’s something that we think about a lot.”
Christian Carson-Banister in the cage is another senior held in high regard, and despite the presence of Joe McSorley, a high ranked freshman goalie prospect, Carson-Banister will have the chance to be a four year starter.
It’s not just those top three that the Terriers can boast, as preseason All-American defender Greg Wozniak along with midfielders Pat Myers and Chad Bell are in their final seasons.
“Chad Bell has really looked solid on that second line,” said Polley. “He’s a guy, we bring in [freshman John] MacLean and [freshman Conor] Muldoon, we were unsure if he’d be a third line guy, but he and Pat Myers have really solidified their spots on the offense.”
Having a group with this much experience is new for BU, but it’s also a group that does lack playoff experience. What they lack in post season play, however, could be made up with determination to finally get there.
“It’s been fun to watch, and being a part of it, us seniors all have great game experience,” said Dearth. “It’s been fun to come from a freshman where I didn’t know what to do to helping the freshmen do it. We’re an experienced group.”