By: Greg Levinsky
Twice Petra Hall rocketed a ball towards the goalie, and twice it found the back of the cage. The sophomore collected her seventh and eighth goals of the season as the first-seeded Boston University field hockey team bested fourth-seeded Lafayette 2-1 in the Patriot League semifinals on Friday at New Balance Field.
Hall’s second goal of the game with 6:09 to play in regulation to will the Terriers (11-7, 6-0 Patriot League).
“I just saw the opportunity to drag left to right for the second goal,” Hall said. “I just put my all into it and was hoping it would go somewhere near the goal.”
The Terriers, ranked 24th in the nation topped Lafayette 7-4 in a regular season tilt on at Lafayette. Friday’s contest in the conference semifinals was much closer.
“When we played them in the regular season I felt they were a good team, and after that game they really put a lot of good wins together,” Sally Starr, Boston University’s head coach said. “I was really anticipating a hard fought well played game today, and I’m just really happy for our girls that we were able to get the ‘W.'”
Hall scored the game’s first goal off of a penalty corner attempt in the 19th minute. Lafayette (8-11, 4-2) tallied a penalty corner goal in the 25th minute to tie it before halftime.
Starr said Hall’s confidence has skyrocketed since her freshman year, allowing her to blossom into one of the league’s top strikers. She was an All-Patriot League Second Team honoree.
“She’s absolutely playing with some great energy, great decisions on the ball, and scoring big goals for us,” Starr said. “What I love about Petra is she’s got the intangibles.”
Tides appeared to turn as the Terriers got a penalty stroke opportunity. Lafayette switched goalies for the play and backup Hailey Abbott saved the attempt by BU senior Ally Hammel.
“Lafayette really gave us everything we could handle today,” said Boston University head coach said. “I think its a really gritty, gutsy performance by my team.”
Instead of falling flat, Hall and the Terriers pounced on a golden oppurtunity in the closing stages of regulation.
Following a time out called by Starr, Senior goalkeeper Kathleen Keegan stopped a breakaway attempt by Patriot League Rookie of the Year Molly McAndrew. Lafayette’s star forward was one-on-one with Keegan, and the Terriers goalkeeper kicked away an attempt. Starr described the save as “game changing.”
“When I took the time out I felt we were getting a little frazzled at that point,” Starr said. “I thought they were putting a lot of pressure on us.”
On the following possession, Hall found an opening and got her shot ball to ricochet off the leg of a defender for the game-winner.
Just over 10 minutes after the the timeout, the Hall sent the Terriers to the Patriot League title game for the sixth-straight year. Boston University will play in the championship game on Sunday at noon against second-seeded American University.
The Eagles (9-8, 4-2) knocked off third-seeded Bucknell 1-0 in the other semifinal game. BU bested American 2-1 in overtime in their lone regular season tilt.
According to Hall, the key to a repeat for the Terriers is simple.
“It’s just connecting with one another,” Hall said. “When we are all connected we have amazing plays up the field.”
Greg Levinsky be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GregLevinsky.