Field Hockey Begins Season Tomorrow
Terriers look to repeat as America East champions
Hockey season is here — field hockey season, that is.
BU’s ice hockey team may get more attention, but the America East champion field hockey team has proved its prowess.
The Terriers kick off their season against Quinnipiac on Saturday, August 25, at 1 p.m. at MIT’s Jack Barry Field in Cambridge, the team’s home field. They are the preseason favorites to repeat as America East champions, receiving all five first-place votes from the league’s head coaches.
Last season the Terriers got off to a slow start, losing four of their first five games. But the squad turned things around quickly by then posting a five-game win streak and finishing the regular season with an 11-6 record.
In the America East semifinals, BU found the boards once in the first half and held onto the advantage for a 1-0 win over Vermont. Matched up against Maine in the finals, the Terriers snapped a 1-1 tie in the second half with three goals in quick succession to claim a 4-1 victory and the conference championship. But the first round of the NCAA tournament saw BU, ranked 20th, fall to seventh-ranked Connecticut as the Huskies jumped out to a 3-0 lead and held on for the win.
This season BU returns 13 players, including 8 starters, to its lineup. The team has four solid forwards, including Sarah Shute (SHA’08), who was named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Northeast All-Region First Team and the America East All-Conference First Team last season, with 34 points on 14 goals. She scored six game-winning goals and had two five-point games.
"Our team has a lot of confidence and hard work ethic," says Coach Sally Starr. "We can tactically change strategies to work different offenses and defenses. We’re young and talented."
Tricaptain Hadley Adams (CFA’08) scored four goals and three assists last season to finish sixth on the team in scoring. Hayley Hamada (CAS’08) was second in scoring, with 22 points. She played in all 21 games and was named to the NFHCA Northeast All-Region Second Team. As a redshirt freshman last fall, Gabby Hajjar (CGS’08) scored six points on three goals, including a game winner against UMass.
Pam Spuehler (CAS’08) was a dominant force in the midfield last year. A tricaptain this year, she earned multiple All-America honors and was named to the NFHCA Second Team. She also racked up first-team All-Region and All-Conference honors for the second season in a row and was named Most Outstanding Player of the America East Championship.
Tricaptain Sarah Hudak (SAR’08), also in the midfield, started in all 21 games, recording two goals and four assists, including the game-winner over seventh-ranked Virginia.
Midfielder Suus Dekker (CGS’08) posted a successful 2006 record, earning First-Team All-Region honors, a first for a BU freshman. She was named America East Rookie of the Year and made the All-Conference First Team. She started in 20 games and racked up six goals. She was also selected for national All-Rookie Squad honors by womensfieldhockey.com.
Holly Wiles (SAR’09), a midfielder and a back, started in 19 games and was fourth on the team in assists, with five, tallying one goal. Wiles was also named to the America East All-Conference Second Team. Backs Lizzie Perreault (SAR’09) and Laura Dean (ENG’08) are expected to contribute this season as well. Perreault scored one goal and three assists, while Dean was named to the America East All-Conference Second Team.
"We have a very strong nucleus back on offense," says Starr. "Our defense is very strong and has a lot of experience."
Hannah Clarisse (SHA’10) and newcomer Kim Kastuk (CGS’09) will be blocking shots for the Terriers this season.
Coach Starr, who is beginning her 27th season at BU, has high hopes that her experienced group of players will take their third America East championship in a row and make it yet again to the NCAA tournament.
"We had a very productive spring," says Starr. "If we can keep focused and healthy, we have a good opportunity to compete for the conference championship again."
Abby Jordan can be reached at email@example.com.