By: Greg Levinsky
Paula Portugal is statistically the most dynamic individual offensive threat the Boston University field hockey team will face to date. The Miami University senior has collected 24 goals, fourth most in the nation.
The 22nd-ranked Terriers (12-7) host Portugal and the streaking Red Hawks (15-6) on Wednesday at 12:00 p.m. at New Balance Field in the NCAA Tournament’s opening round. The back-to-back Patriot League Champions look to extend their season once again.
BU knocked off American University 2-1 in the Patriot League championship on Sunday for its fourth conference title in five years. No. 24 Miami bested Kent State 5-3 in the MAC championship to win their second in a row.
Senior Ally Hammel (6 goals, 5 assists) earned the Patriot League Tournament’s Most Valuable Player award. The conference Defensive Player of the Year was joined by co-captain Allie Doggett (3 goals, 1 assist), junior Kiley Gallagher (1 goal, 4 assists) and sophomores Ailsa Connolly (8 goals, 4 assists) and Petra Hall (8 goals, 3 assists) as all-league picks.
Miami’s 15 wins are tied for the program record shared with the 1981 team, their first iteration at the NCAA Division I level.
Portugal earned the MAC Offensive Player of the Year for the second-straight year and is a four-time All-MAC First Teamer. Red-shirt senior back Mariona Heras was the MAC’s Defensive Player of the Year, and coach Iñako Puzo was the league’s Coach of the Year.
Field players senior Estel Roig (3 goals, 7 assists), sophomore Leonore Berlie (7 goals, 6 assists), freshman Noor Breedjik (2 goals, 5 assists), and senior goalkeeper Maddie Passarella (1.11 GAA) were also All-MAC selections.
The two squads matched up early in the season, with the Terriers taking a 2-1 decision at a neutral site. Miami rides a five-game winning streak heading into the contest, the Terriers have come out on top in their last two games.
The 2018 Division I Field Hockey Official Bracket was announced on Sunday night, and the Terriers and Red Hawks play in one of two opening round games. The winner will face fourth-seeded Duke University in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday at 12:00 p.m as the field narrows to 16.
Greg Levinsky can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him in Twitter @GregLevinsky