By Andrew Mason
As the Terriers get ready to hit the books once again, one Boston University team has already been hard at work this fall. Starting the season on a four game winning streak, the undefeated BU Field Hockey squad has been nothing short of impressive.
Led by 37th year head coach Sally Starr, the team kicked off the 2017-2018 season in late August with two home games in the annual Terrier Classic. BU took home the trophy, producing shutout victories against Bryant University and the University of New Hampshire by scores of 4-0 and 1-0, respectively.
The Terriers were then west-bound, as they headed to Oxford, Ohio for the Miami Invitational. As the team aimed to keep its momentum rolling, BU capped off a great first two weekends of play by ousting Ball State University 2-1 and defeating host Miami University 3-1.
One notable component of this year’s success so far is depth. Alex Smith, BU Field Hockey Broadcaster for the Patriot League Network, notes Starr’s ability to utilize her whole team.
“Starr is the only coach I have seen in this sport who will literally use every player on her roster in every game,” Smith said. “They wear teams down which is why you tend to see a lot of second half action with them.”
Second halves have been vital to this Terrier squad, as it holds a 6-1 second-half scoring advantage over opponents through four games. But, perhaps what catches the eye of most BU fans so far this season has been the phenomenal play of the team’s freshmen.
Forward/midfielder Petra Hall and forward Ailsa Connolly started their BU careers on fire at the Terrier Classic. The high-scoring New Zealand natives finished with two goals a piece and together accounted for four of the team’s five goals during the tournament. However, Hall and Connolly are just the tip of the iceberg for the freshmen class.
Freshman Millie Baker has been dependable in goal. Sharing minutes with junior Kathleen Keegan, Baker has been nearly perfect in the first four games, stopping five of six shots on goal.
Finally, freshman forward Miya Denison has shown value in the clutch, grabbing a late second half goal to take down Miami. Currently tied for first for BU’s total points scored with 2, the 2016 Virginia State Player of the Year has started to make a name for herself.
“She has electric speed and something this team lacks: individual inspiration,” Smith said of Denison. “As she gets her feet under her and gets into the starting unit I think she will be BU’s best player for the next few years possibly.”
After fantastic early play in the 2017-2018 season, BU cannot afford to repeat what happened last season: a hot 7-0 start was soon dampered with a four game losing streak.
“[BU’s] next three games are all away and all against ranked teams and a loss will happen at some point,” Smith said. “Last year a lot was because of overconfidence, they were so experienced and let the foot off the pedal. I think this group is hungry to prove themselves not just to the FH world but also to coach Starr for more playing time.”
Boston University will continue its five-game road trip on Friday, Sept. 8 at No. 18 University at Albany. The game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.