By: Ethan Fuller
BOSTON, MA – Boston University held off a barrage of Lehigh shots on Sunday, beating the Mountain Hawks, 1-0, at Nickerson Field. The Terriers scored their first win in Patriot League play and improved their record to 2-7-2, while Lehigh fell to 3-6-0.
BU opened the match with a powerful offensive attack that led to the game’s first goal in the eighth minute. Senior Chelsea Churchill sent a header into the net off a cross from sophomore Anna Heilferty. The score was Churchill’s first of the season and sixth of her collegiate career.
“It was a great effort,” Churchill said. “It felt good to have finally run a play and have a great, team-oriented goal.”
The Terriers spent the rest of the contest fending off furious pressure from the Mountain Hawks. Lehigh’s forwards received multiple long passes along the wing, which contributed to their 14 shots on goal. Six of their starters took at least two attempts at net. However, freshman goalkeeper Morgan Messner stood strong, racking up six saves and her second shutout of the year.
BU head coach Nancy Feldman acknowledged that defending the point of service is a concept her team will look to improve.
“You don’t want to be so passive that you’re just dropping your back line to deal with the service,” she said, “because then they’ll play in front of you with their feet, and now they’re running at you.
“So it’s trying to deny the point of service, and then it’s trying to read when they do have service…We’ve got to kill the space a little bit better.”
Lehigh’s attack may have looked sharp, but they are still struggling to score. The Mountain Hawks remain last in the Patriot League with just five goals on the season. This is despite them being tied for second in the conference with an average of 13.44 shots per game. BU is a tick below, with 12.18 attempts per contest.
With the win, the Terriers are now undefeated in six games all-time against Lehigh. For this year’s team, the victory was their first since September 2 against UConn. Saturday’s game should build momentum for a historically formidable Patriot League squad.
“Although our record is very important, we tried to take out more how we played from [our non-conference schedule] so we can get together as a unit before coming into the Patriot League,” Churchill said.
“It’s hard when you’re not getting the results, when you feel like everything you’re doing is right,” Feldman noted. “So this will start to make you feel like, ‘Okay, yeah, we can play well, we can compete hard, we can find goals when we need them and do what we need to do to win the game.'”
With renewed confidence, the Terriers will next head to Worcester on Wednesday to play the 3-6-0 Holy Cross Crusaders (1-1 in Patriot League). The match will commence at 7 p.m.