By: Greg Levinsky
Arguably the most talented and consistent team on Boston University’s campus, the field hockey program is adorned with a distinct confidence and swagger. The 2018 edition of Terrier field hockey embarks on its Patriot League title defense as the season opens up on Friday.
Entering her 39th-year as head coach, Sally Starr’s squad contains a talented nine-player sophomore class and returns six multi-year starters. The perennial Patriot League juggernaut is once again reloaded and ranked 19th in the NFHCA poll to start the fall.
“We have some really good experience, that sophomore class got a lot as freshman,” Starr said. “We absolutely are returning a lot of kids who had quality minutes last year – we’ll have them continue to develop as a core.”
Senior co-captains Ally Hammel (Duxbury, MA) and Allie Doggett (Watertown, MA) both come off All-Patriot League First Team performances and lead their positional groups.
Hammel, who earned the NFHCA Northeast Region Player of the Year and Patriot League Defender of the Year last fall, is rejoined by starters Jordyn Beesmer (Kingston, NY), a redshirt senior, and sophomore Kathryn Scheerer (Downingtown, PA).
Beesmer missed the entirety of her freshman season due to injury, but is an experienced voice backing the Terrier defense. Beesmer has started every game she’s appeared in over the last two seasons and referred to the six-player senior class as both an experienced and thoughtful group.
“That makes for the best type of leadership system on a team,” Beesmer said. “Yes we have captains, but we have all stepped into different leadership roles. I want to be the best role model for the underclassmen on my team.
I want to set an example on and off the field, in the weight room, and in the classroom. Having been here for 4 years already, it comes natural to me to be a leader on this team. I want to share as much wisdom as I can.”
Joined by sophomore Alexis Pettisani (Medford, NJ), who started a pair of games in her freshman campaign, and sophomore Shannon Ma (Perth, AUS) the defensive corps will play in front of a trio of goalkeepers.
Sophomore Millie Baker (Melbourne, AUS) and senior Kathleen Keegan (West Hartford, CT) split time in net last fall, helping the Terriers to a Patriot League best 1.59 goals against average.
They hope to lead the conference in the category once again.
“I think our defense is one of the strongest parts of our game and we are backed by goalies who had a lot of experience last year,” Beesmer said. “We take pride in being a part of BU-D which makes us so dedicated to constantly learn and change our structure. Trust and cohesion are important aspects in defense and they come with experience.”
Transfer Livy Golini (York, ME) started in her first two seasons as Quinnipiac’s goalkeeper, and is immediately eligible to play after coming to BU last semester. Starr said they have not decided on a depth chart yet and are “taking it a day at a time.”
“All three are competing well and we’ll just, as they say, let the cream rise to the top,” Starr said. “We’re in a situation where we’re still evaluating. There’s not clear frontrunner right now and they’re all doing well.”
With the graduation of 2017 Patriot League Tournament Most Valuable Player Kali Shumock, Doggett, classmate Maika Akroyd (Gisborne, NZ) and junior Kiley Gallagher (Palmyra, PA) pose a strong trio in the midfield.
Doggett was a unanimous selection to the All-Patriot League First Team last fall. Akroyd moved from back to midfield and flourished, collecting the first four goals and three assists of her collegiate career.
Gallagher made tremendous strides – notching six goals and six assists in her sophomore season en route to All-Patriot League Second Team honors. She powered the Terriers to a 2-1 win over Bucknell in the Patriot League championship game with a goal and an assist on the winner. Gallagher also tallied a pair of goals in a 5-0 win over Fairfield in the NCAA Tournament Play-in game.
She stayed in Boston over the summer and according to Starr, “committed herself to having a really good junior season.”
“She really turned into an impact player for us, and she absolutely can continue to be one,” Starr said. “She’s really worked hard this summer so she can sustain a high work rate.”
After playing a solid role off the bench as a freshman, Maggie New (Norfolk, VA) slots into another important midfield role and played both sides as a freshman. Two midfielders were lost for various reasons over the offseason, and New, along with freshman Haley Lowell (Oakland, ME) and Rebecca Janes (Melbourne, AUS) should see ample time.
With a team-best 11 goals in her freshman season, Ailsa Connolly (Auckland, NZ) leads the forwards. Classmates Miya Denison (Newport News, VA) and Petra Hall (Masterton, NZ) combined for 11 goals and five assists in solid freshman years. They’re integral to the offensive success.
“All three are capable of being very dangerous on and off the ball,” Starr said.
Sophomore Paige Mautner (Greenwich, CT) and freshmen Molly Rottinghaus (Pittsburgh, PA) and Casey Thompson (Windham, NH) also provide offensive prowess up front.
Senior Kara Enoch (Yorktown, VA) is the returning assist leader after posting nine helpers to go with four goals last fall. Starr made certain to praise Enoch’s standout play and crucial role on the team as the lone upperclassmen at the forward position.
“She’s had an outstanding preseason,” Starr said. “She’s really poised to have her best year this year.”
The Terriers went 14-8 a season ago, including 8-0 against Patriot League foes. BU went 8-3 at home on New Balance Field and captured its third conference title in four years last fall in front of the home crowd. One year after falling in a heart breaker, the Terriers bounced back to top American and the seniors want a third Patriot League Title.
Eight of the first 11 games are on the road including a trip to Evanston, Illinois to face Miami of Ohio and Northwestern as well as a contest at Penn State. A three-game home stand, the longest home stretch comes in late October. The Terriers host defending national champion University of Connecticut during that stretch on October 21 and end the regular season on October 28 at rival Boston College.
BU opens up against Northeastern University in the first of two games as part of the Wildcat Classic Tournament on Friday with a 3:00 p.m. start.
“I’m really looking forward to this upcoming weekend on the road,” Starr said. “It’s timely for us and a good opportunity to see where we are right now.”
Beesmer’s ready as well.
“My goal is to simply live in the present and enjoy every remaining moment I have as a Division 1 field hockey player,” she said. “I want to make my last year my best year.”