By: Greg Levinsky
It was with impeccable timing that Kiley Gallagher collected the first goal of her junior campaign. With the 24th-ranked Boston University field hockey team in an overtime battle against ninth-ranked Northwestern University, the Preseason All-Patriot Leaguer found the back of the cage less than two minutes into the extra period to send the Terriers to a 4-3 win and their first top-10 win since 2014.
Gallagher took a cross from Ailsa Connolly and buried a shot for a 4-3 victory over the Wildcats (4-3). The Terriers (4-2) earned a weekend sweep after a victory over Miami University on Saturday and Sunday’s derailing of Northwestern. Both games were held at Northwestern’s Lakeside Field in Evanston, Illinois.
“We got two quality wins this weekend, and I can’t overstate our resiliency,” said Boston University head coach Sally Starr. “Coming back after two tough losses last weekend and coming from behind, just a really good weekend for us.”
BU snapped a two-game skid with a 2-1 victory over Miami University (3-4). Trailing 1-0 at halftime, senior co-captain Allie Doggett collected her second goal to tie it at 37:52. Sophomore Petra Hall tapped home a rebound with three minutes to play in regulation.
“We really played well in the second half,” Hall said. “We moved the ball a lot better, connected with each other, and that’s what won us the game.”
She scrambled towards the net and whacked it home after a valiant effort.
“It was pretty hacky sack in there. The goalies, the players, everything,” Hall said. “I was determined to get that goal.”
For the first time in 2018 a goalkeeper played the game’s entirety. Senior Kathleen Keegan backstopped all 70 minutes of both contests.
On Saturday the defense in front of her allowed just one shot on goal which did pass by her, but the Terriers battled for six shots on goal en route to victory. Previously splitting time with sophomore Millie Baker and junior Livy Golini, Keegan turned away four shots against Northwestern and improved her individual record to 4-1.
“We’ve got three really good goalies who are competing hard and are under constant evaluation by the coaches to who is playing best,” Starr said.
But Keegan’s performance against a top-flight team impressed.
“It’s just her consistency,” Starr said. “She’s gotten better as the season’s gone on, and she organizes the defense in front of her well.
“She’s playing well and is also being a great defensive general back there for us.”
Despite a 10-3 disadvantage in penalty corners, Starr cited her team’s corner defense as one of the defining assets in the win over Northwestern.
“That corner defense unit was outstanding,” Starr said. “I really need to thank Tracey [Paul] and Amy [Gibson], my two assistant coaches for coming up with the tactical plan for our corner defense.”
Connolly, a sophomore striker, had a goal and two assists in Sunday’s win and leads the team in points with five goals and two helpers. The Terriers took 1-0 and 2-1 advantages before Northwestern rallied for a pair of goals.
Trailing by one with 4:48 to play in regulation, Starr readied to to pull the goalie. Instead, momentum reversed in favor of the Terriers when senior Kara Enoch rifled a backhanded shot past tie it. Gallagher followed with the winner 1:51 into overtime.
Northwestern started the overtime with possession, but the Terriers quickly forced a turnover which resulted in Gallagher’s winner. Doggett fed Connolly up the sideline who then shoveled it to Gallagher in front of the cage.
“We just possessed the ball really well, were really patient and then pulled the trigger,” Starr said. “It was a sweet goal.”
For the second time this fall the Terriers collected a weekend sweep on the road. They picked up wins in their opening weekend and doubled their win total during their longest trip of the year.
“We took the positives out of last weekend even though we had two losses,” Starr said. We definetly had [the team’s] attention this week in practice and were able to work on some things.”
Greg Levinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GregLevinsky