By James Duffy, sports editor
The Northeastern University (NU) field hockey team had a tumultuous weekend against two in-state rivals. The Huskies defeated Harvard University in Cambridge on Friday, Sept. 16 in a close 4-3 win before falling to No. 18 Boston College in an 8-1 blowout at home on Sunday.
After splitting the two games, the team’s record moved to 4-3 on the season, a marked improvement from the 2-5 record through seven games last season.
Against Harvard, NU came firing out of the gate, scoring three first-half goals, two of which came before the 15-minute mark.
Freshman midfielder Alice Batt opened up the scoring, netting her first-ever collegiate goal just 10 minutes into the contest. Senior back Jessica Unger followed three minutes later, scoring on a penalty stroke to give the Huskies a 2-0 lead.
Harvard got on the board 23 minutes in when senior midfielder Abbey Thornhill scored, but sophomore forward June Curry-Lindahl tacked on another before the frame ended, scoring off an odd man rush to keep the Husky advantage at two.
In the second half, Batt scored again as NU held of the Crimson to secure a 4-3 victory. The Huskies scored four goals on four shots on net, while Harvard was held to three goals on 11 shots.
Senior goalkeeper Becky Garner was strong in net again to help guide her club to a victory.
“Becky [Garner] played extremely well,” head coach Cheryl Murtagh said. “She made some big saves and gave the team some confidence.”
Things took a turn for the worse later in the weekend, when the Huskies returned home to Dedham Field to host the Boston College Eagles on Sunday. NU trailed just 2-1 at halftime but allowed six straight BC goals and eventually lost 8-1.
After allowing five goals on nine shots, Garner was pulled in favor of redshirt freshman goalkeeper Julia Ennis, who made her collegiate debut. Ennis played the final 25 minutes of the game, allowing three goals on four shots to the potent Eagles offense.
“BC is pretty explosive, and I think we had trouble handling that,” Murtagh said. “In the second half, they came right at us, and I thought that we needed to do a better job of team defense.”
Moving forward, Murtagh will look for the team to learn from its mistakes and improve. She highlighted defense and staying strong in the second half as areas that needed work.
“I think the second-half performance is a concern,” she said. “I feel pretty confident that [the team] will do something about it.”
The Huskies will get a chance to bounce back this weekend with a pair of home games. They will host No. 20 Maine on Saturday, Sept. 24 and the University of New Hampshire on Sunday, Sept. 25.
Murtagh hopes to see her team learn from its mistakes from last weekend.
“They’re both very good offensive teams,” Murtagh said. “We need to do what we didn’t do against BC, which is play good defense.”
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics.