By Andrew Mason
BOSTON – It was just that kind of game for Ailsa Connolly on Saturday afternoon.
As the No. 24 Terriers returned home to New Balance Field, somewhere they hadn’t played at since late August, the freshman forward was able to grab three goals, lifting Boston University past the Leopards of Lafayette College by a final score of 5-1.
BU moves to 5-3 on the season and officially 1-0 in Patriot League play.
“Our first conference game, coming off a three game losing streak, not really playing our best hockey, it was so important to come in today and really play well,” Head Coach Sally Starr said after the game.
The losing streak that preceded Saturday’s win can be blamed partly on the Terrier’s lack of offensive efficiency, totaling three goals during the three game skid. However, the offense looked phenomenal against Lafayette.
The Terriers were able to accumulate five goals against a Leopards’ goalkeeper who has been tough to slip any shots past all season. Sarah Park, the sophomore, had only allowed eight total goals through Lafayette’s first seven games.
Aside from Connolly, who found the back of the cage late in the first half, then twice more in the second to register a team-high six goals this season, Grace Boston and Petra Hall added to the point scoring for BU. The senior captain, Boston, also tallied an assist in the first half during a fastbreak that Connolly turned into her first goal of the day.
Not much went wrong for BU on the defensive end. Lafayette midfielder Ellen Coleburn was able to sneak one in past BU goalkeeper Kathleen Keegan at the 34-minute mark to make it a 3-1 Terrier lead heading into halftime.
Otherwise, the Terriers were able to keep the Leopard’s top offensive threats, Grace Angelella and Rosie Shanks – each with a team-high three goals heading into the game – from finding any sort of rhythm.
BU’s substitute goalkeeper Millie Baker, who, per usual, saw most of the action in goal in the second half, made two saves and allowed no points against the Leopards.
“Millie’s an outstanding goalie and I think she’s just gonna keep getting better and better as the season goes on,” Starr said.
One of the more exciting moments of the contest came in the second half when Baker left the goal to meet a fast-breaking Lafayette offense.
“On the breakaway, [Baker] came out, didn’t play it as cleanly as she would’ve liked it and we would’ve liked it,” Starr said. “But she was still able to scramble back, protect the goal mouth, and keep them out of the cage. That was awesome.”
One key to BU’s victory was keeping penalty corners for Lafayette under control. The Terriers were able to successfully defend the Leopards three corner situations, an area that has plagued the Terriers tremendously this season, particularly in second halves.
BU will continue play this weekend in a non-conference matchup against the No. 17 ranked Princeton Tigers on Sunday. The game is set to start at 2 p.m.
“For a young team I think we’re at the point in time that we’re ready to really show some maturity, show some growth,” Starr said. “So, looking forward to an opportunity to see where we are growth-wise and compete against a really good team.”