The Lafayette field hockey team went down with a fight last Friday, losing to Boston University 2-1 in what turned out to be the Leopards’ final game of the season. The contest was close throughout, but a second half goal by the Terriers proved to be the deciding goal.
The team finishes the season with an 8-11 mark, a one game improvement from the previous season, including a 4-2 Patriot League record. The Leopards are graduating five seniors this year, defenders Adriana Pero and Rachel Bird, forwards Kristen Taylor and Liza Welch, and midfielder Theresa Delahanty. Bird, Taylor and Delahanty were starters for the Leopards.
The two teams met once before in an offensive showdown that resulted in a 7-4 win for BU. This game was a more defensive battle, with the teams combing for 10 total shots on goal. After allowing a goal in the 20th minute, the Leopards responded quickly with a corner kick strike. Junior forward Caroline Turnbull scored off the play to tie the game at a goal apiece.
A few plays later, freshman goalkeeper Hailey Abbott subbed in for junior net minder Sarah Park to face a BU penalty shot just before halftime. Abbott made a beautiful save, diving to her left to keep the game knotted at one.
The teams remained tied into the second half, but the Terriers took a 2-1 lead in the 64th minute. That goal ended up being the deciding factor, as Lafayette failed to finish a few key scoring opportunities later in the game. Despite being outshot 13-8, Lafayette held the advantage in corners, 3-1.
Bird, one of the teams’ co-captains, thought the team played well throughout the season and were competitive despite a slow beginning.
“We got off to a rocky start because we played some good teams and were trying to find our game,” Bird said. “As the season progressed we began to play more consistently and perform better.”
Bird was also proud of the effort the team gave in their final game, saying “[the team] played really well. It was one of our strongest performances of the season, and we were connecting well throughout the game.”
When asked about her favorite moment of the season, Bird referenced the team’s earlier win against American, which was also the team’s senior day.
“We beat them 3-1 in a decisive game,” Bird said. “American is a strong team, and consistently one of the top teams in the Patriot League. The win clinched us a playoff spot and everything was clicking throughout the game.”
The game was a back and forth affair, with both teams coming up with scoring opportunities and defensive stops. Junior midfielder Cameron Costello described how the game was filled with “momentum shifts” and “came down to who scored the last goal.”
Costello said she also felt the season was filled with improvement, alluding to the Leopards’ 0-5 start before the team went 8-6 over their final 14 games.
“I think we started off playing at a high level, but we struggled to win games. As the season progressed, we found ways to win,” Costello said. “I think we’re going to doing well in the Patriot League. Many Patriot League teams are losing a lot of players, and so are we, but we have a talented group of young players that will help us build off of where we left off this year.”