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Women’s Lacrosse Home Opener Tomorrow

Terriers hungry to regain AE championship

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Danielle Etrasco, Boston University BU Terriers women's lacrosse

Cocaptain Danielle Etrasco (SHA’13) led the Terriers with 57 goals last season. Photo by Steve McLaughlin

The women’s lacrosse Terriers finally play the season’s home opener tomorrow, after the scheduled opener, against Yale on February 29, was postponed because of snow. Tomorrow, they’ll take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Nickerson Field.

The Terriers are looking to rebound from a disappointing 2011 season that saw them finish 8-9 and lose in the America East semifinals to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 12-11 in overtime. (BU had won the past 6 AE titles, and 8 of the past 10 prior to last season.) And the team failed to make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2005.

The Terriers have experienced lackluster results so far in their 2012 campaign. They fell to the University of Massachusetts February 22 and to Harvard three days later, before routing George Mason 16-8 on March 3. Another loss followed March 7, when they bowed to Dartmouth 13-6.

Several players attribute 2011’s less than stellar performance to the fact that the team had become too accustomed to winning.

“It was too casual a year,” says attacker and cocaptain Danielle Etrasco (SHA’13). “We weren’t where we needed to be as a team, and we took it too lightly with our previous seasons’ histories. Now we know we need to fight for it, and that we need to earn everything.”

Liz Robertshaw, in her sixth season as head coach of the Terriers, says the team rested on its laurels last year.

“We took winning for granted, and that’s something we tried to combat, but unfortunately, we as coaches didn’t do a good job and the players fell into it,” she says. “This year we’ve definitely pushed the competitive atmosphere. We want these players to go out and win at every single thing we do, whether it’s a game of dodgeball or any of our games.”

The Terriers entered this season ranked number two, behind first place Albany, in the AE coaches poll. They had a narrow edge over the University of New Hampshire and Stony Brook for second place.

This year’s Terriers squad is notable for the number of young players: freshmen and sophomores comprise the majority of the team. Just 9 of the 25 players are upperclassmen—something two-year captain Molly Swain (CFA’12) says brings both advantages and disadvantages.

“This year we’re really young, which is a blast, because we have a lot of energy,” Swain says. “It means we don’t necessarily know each other on the field as well as we have in the past, but it also means fresh legs and new personalities that make this team exciting and fun.”

Etrasco says she’s confident the new players can fill the void left by last year’s seniors. “We did lose some good key defenders, but our freshmen have stepped up a ton for us right now,” she says. “It’s a whole different team, and we have a different sense of urgency these days.”

Boston University BU Terriers women's lacrosse

Photo by Vernon Doucette

Perhaps no player is more important to the squad’s success this season than Etrasco herself, the reigning AE Co-Player of the Year and last season’s team leading scorer. She netted 57 goals, finishing second in the AE in points per game. She was also named to the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Northeast All-Region First Team and to the U.S. Women’s Lacrosse National Team. Despite all those honors, she says, her focus now is on the season ahead.

“I try not to look at last year. Do I want to do just as well or even better? Absolutely. But my focus is just on this team, and getting us where we need to be,” Etrasco says.

The Terriers will have to overcome some stiff regular season competition to reclaim the America East title. In the coming weeks, they’ll face five teams that qualified for the NCAA tournament last season.

“I think Liz takes a lot of pride in making sure that our schedule is not light,” Swain says. “Our conference has really gotten stronger, and when you continue to see teams getting better and better, I think it just makes our level rise even higher.”

Robertshaw says the strength of her team’s schedule will ensure that players are ready to play their best throughout the season.

“We try to do a nice job of balancing local competition with some New England rivalries, so I think it’ll be exciting for us to go out there and play,” she says. “I think we have a good game plan for the beginning of the the season, as well as where we plan to be next week, next month, and two months from now.”

The BU women’s lacrosse team home opener is tomorrow Saturday, March 10, when the Terriers host the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at 3 p.m. at Nickerson Field. Tickets are $5 for the general public, $2 for BU students, faculty, and staff. Tickets can be purchased at Nickerson Field one hour before the game.

Ben Carsley can be reached at bcarsley@bu.edu.

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