By: Greg Levinsky
BOSTON – In a matchup of regular season champions in their respective conferences, the Boston University field hockey team fell 2-1 to the University of Connecticut.
The 24th-ranked Terriers (9-6, 5-0 Patriot League) dropped a closely contested battle to the fifth-ranked and BIG EAST champion Huskies (14-3). The sides met in regular season and NCAA Tournament last year with the Huskies taking 8-1 and 3-1 wins, respectively. Connecticut went on to win the national title last year with a spotless 23-0 record.
Boston University head coach Sally Starr said there were “a lot of positive takeaways” from the contest.
“These are measuring games for us and opportunities to see how we’re really doing against some of the top teams in the country,” Starr said. “I just felt we really defended well as a team, we did a good job of limiting them to corners which was key, and I feel we generated some really good attack.”
Less than 24 hours after clinching the 2018 Patriot League regular season title and right to host the conference tournament, the BIG EAST regular season champion Huskies visited for BU’s final non-conference home game of the 2018 regular season.
The Terriers took a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute on a penalty stroke goal by senior Ally Hammel. Freshman Casey Thompson earned the attempt for BU with a run towards the cage, baiting Connecticut goalie Cheyenne Sprecher to come out for an aggressive save. She made contact with Thompson, and BU was awarded the stroke.
“Casey’s been an outstanding player for us all year,” Starr said. “She’s really skilled. She’s smart. She’s got a really good touch on the ball and really makes defends miss, and really good vision with the ball.”
Connecticut’s Svea Boker tied it less than four minutes later on a reverse hit, and Cecile Pierer scored the winner in the 59th minute.
BU had two penalty corner chances at the end of the game, but were stopped. Nonetheless, the Terriers head coach was satisfied.
The Terriers continue their three-game home stand with a conference matchup against Holy Cross on Friday night before finishing the regular season on Sunday at local rival, No. 11 Boston College.
“We just need to continue to build on this,” Starr said. “As we get into the end of October and November and tournament time, games like this can only help us to get better.”
Greg Levinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GregLevinsky