By: Andrew Mason
Boston University Field Hockey was not able to find much success against Duke University on Sunday afternoon, dropping its second straight home game, 5-1, at New Balance Field. The Terriers now move to 6-5, but still remain a perfect 2-0 in Patriot League play.
As expected, the Blue Devils’ defense came out in smothering fashion. A defensive unit that had only allowed eight goals through its first nine games, gave up only one goal to BU. Duke goalkeeper, sophomore Sammi Steele, recorded three saves and saw all 70 minutes of action.
Ally Hammel was the lone Terrier to find the back of the cage on Sunday. The junior defensive back had struggled early in the season to get her offensive juices flowing, but has now converted three penalty corners in the last two games.
“We put [Hammel] in that position because we really feel she has the capabilities of scoring goals in many different ways,” Head Coach Sally Starr said. “She’s put a lot of work into it, we’ve put a lot of work into it, and I think she’s gonna keep getting better and better as we go through October.”
BU’s defense struggled out of the gate. Duke scored three quick goals in the first 20 minutes of play, leading to an early timeout for Starr.
“I just really felt that it wasn’t what [Duke] was doing, it was what we weren’t doing,” Starr said. “Just settle down and play.”
Moments after the game resumed, Hammel scored, cutting the Blue Devil lead to 3-1 at halftime.
The Terriers’ defense did a better job limiting Duke’s scoring opportunities in the second half, holding the Blue Devils to zero penalty corners. Nonetheless, Duke grabbed the only two goals of half number two, as forward Rose Tynan – 21 points this season – sent in her second of the day.
For the first time in 2017, a Terrier goalkeeper started in both halves of a game. Freshman Millie Baker played the entire contest in goal for BU, while junior Kathleen Keegan – who started the first eight games of the season – saw no minutes. Baker finished the afternoon with three saves and five goals allowed.
The Terriers have almost a full week to get ready for American University, in what may perhaps be the most important game of the regular season.
Both BU and American sit at the top of the Patriot League and are likely to finish as the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds. The head-to-head winner between the two could very well earn home field advantage throughout the Patriot League playoffs.
“The biggest thing right now is to really rest and recover,” said Coach Starr. “Then fine-tune the things we felt we did well today and improve on the things we didn’t.”
BU and American are set to face off at New Balance Field on Saturday, Oct. 7, at 11 a.m.