Field Hockey Hosts Home Opener Friday
Team seeking third consecutive Patriot League title
With one of the top-ranked freshman classes in the country, the Boston University field hockey Terriers have high aspirations as they go into their home opener Friday night against the University of New Hampshire. They’re on a quest for their third consecutive Patriot League title, their fifth in six years.
Despite the graduation of two-time All-American Ally Hammel (CGS’17, Sargent’19) and multiyear starters Kara Enoch (CAS’19), Maika Akroyd (COM’19), Jordyn Beesmer (CAS’18), Kathleen Keegan (Questrom’19), and Allie Doggett (Questrom’19), the Terriers were picked first in the Patriot League’s Field Hockey Preseason Poll, a sign that BU is still the team to beat.
With the impending graduation of the six starters last season, head coach Sally Starr knew the importance of recruiting a strong freshman class. In fact, the program has been named ninth in the nation in the top-10 Division I entering classes by MAX Field Hockey.
“It’s a really talented freshman class,” Starr says. “I think being ranked ninth in the country, that’s a tribute to them and to the program and the stature that we have and the possibilities that we have.”
Ranked No. 23 in the country in the NFHCA Poll to start the season, the Terriers (1-1) earned a 4-1 victory in their season opener at Ohio University before falling 3-2 in a tight match to Ohio State.
Rachel Borzymowski (CAS’23) and Jodie Connolly (ENG’23) started both games. Ellie McIntyre (CAS’23) scored her first collegiate goal in her Terrier debut, and Mikayla Crowley (ENG’23) earned her first assist in the Ohio State match. Caroline Kelly (COM’23), one of the nation’s top-five freshman goalie recruits, picked up a victory in her first collegiate game and collected 12 saves in her second contest.
“I think our team culture, it’s all about the fact that we don’t have hierarchy or seniority,” says Ailsa Connolly (CAS’21). “It’s all just the same grade—pretty much when we come out on the field, we’re all equal.”
A 2018 All-Patriot League First Team performer, Connolly tallied a hat trick in the opener and a goal in the second game, capturing the first Patriot League Player of the Week award for the 2019 campaign.
“I always sort of think that I start my seasons off better than I end them, but hopefully we’re going to try to keep it consistent this year,” says Connolly, who hails from New Zealand.
Starr says Connolly came back from New Zealand in better shape than she left. “And I think because of that,” the coach says, “she’s started out the season on fire.”
Kiley Gallagher (Questrom’20) and Connolly each earned spots on the league’s preseason All-Conference Team. Gallagher, a two-time All-Patriot League Second Team honoree, is a team captain.
Albany transfer Liz Ryan (CAS’21) has already established herself as a key player, able to play both on the forward line with Connolly and backup on the midfield with Gallagher. Ryan is a member of the US U-21 National Team, and scored her first BU goal in the second game of the Ohio road trip.
“What Liz brings to us is just tremendous speed, work ethic, work rate, competitive fire,” Starr says. “I mean, the kid just loves to play.”
Among other players expected to have a significant impact this season are Maggie New (SHA’21), Miya Denison (COM’21), Kathryn Scheerer (ENG’21), Shannon Ma (Sargent’21), Alexis Pettisani (Sargent’21), Paige Mautner (COM’21), Rebecca Janes (ENG’22), and Casey Thompson (Questrom’22). New had two assists in the early going, Janes one. Scheerer, Ma, and Pettisani all played pivotal roles on the back defensive line last fall.
And as a captain, Gallagher says the upperclassmen strive to create a friendly atmosphere and an expectation that all players will contribute.
“I think one big thing on our team is there is no hierarchy—you can be a freshman, sophomore, senior, whoever you are, just stepping up every day playing the best you can to make the team better,” she says.
The field hockey Terriers play UNH in their season home opener Friday, September 6, at 5 pm at New Balance Field, 278 Babcock St. They host Northeastern on Sunday, September 8, at 1 pm. Admission is free and open to the public.