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Women’s Lacrosse Meets Loyola in Patriot League Semifinal Today

Hot off a winning streak, Terriers determined to get to final

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  • The BU women’s lacrosse team passed Colgate, 14-9, in the Patriot League tournament quarterfinals May 1
  • The Terriers have posted a 7-1 record in their last eight games
  • They face number-8 Loyola in the PL semifinals today

In early April, the BU women’s lacrosse team had posted a subpar 3-6 record, partly because of a tough schedule that included three nationally ranked opponents. With getting a berth in the Patriot League tournament at risk, head coach Liz Robertshaw told BU Today at the time: “Right now, you want to win every game.”

And the Terriers have largely managed to do just that. After losing to nationally ranked Loyola 11-18 on March 31, the Terriers have posted a 7-1 record in their last eight games, the latest win against fourth-seeded Colgate, 14-9, in Tuesday’s Patriot League tournament quarterfinals. Today it’s on to the semifinals, where for the second year in a row they will face the eighth-ranked Loyola Greyhounds.

The turnaround began April 4 when the Terriers put up 20 points against Harvard to launch a six-game win streak that wasn’t broken until the 23-6 loss to number-11 Navy last weekend. In that time, the Terriers have improved on all cylinders, starting with their defense.

During the first nine games of the season, the team allowed opponents a double-digit score in all but one game—a 16-8 victory at Lafayette on March 24—but in the last eight, they have limited them to fewer than 10 goals in five games.

Anchoring the defense are All-Patriot League First Teamer Tonianne Magnelli (CGS’17, Questrom’19) and cocaptain Maria Guerra (Sargent’18). Magnelli says the improved defensive performance is the result of a team-wide effort. “We’ve been committed to backing each other up every moment, whether someone is getting beat on one-v-one, and we have to slide to help them, or someone makes a great check in having the ground ball,” she says.

Tonianne Magnelli

Tonianne Magnelli (CGS’17, Questrom’19) was named to the All-Patriot League First Team earlier this week.

In all, four Terriers were named to all-conference teams this season: Magnelli and Kailey Conry (CGS’18) were named to the first team; Guerra and Kaitlin Belval (SHA’19) made the second team.

The Terrier defense has been focused on limiting opponent shots, which in turn has allowed them to outshoot their opponents in six of the last eight games.

On the other end, with 70 points and the country’s ninth best assist average (2.53), Conry stands as the team’s offensive maestro. And while cocaptain Avery Donahoe (CGS’16, COM’18) remains the team’s top goal scorer (36), her four-game absence with a knee injury leading into the playoffs created an opportunity for a new offensive star to emerge: Ava Barry (CGS’19).

The freshman posted 29 points (22 goals and 7 assists) in the last eight games and has rapidly climbed up the scoring ladder to third place, with 36 points. The span included four outings with four goals, highlighted by a seven-point burst against American.

“She’s done a great job coming in and stepping into the gap that we’ve had without Avery on the field,” Robertshaw says. “She’s gotten better and better throughout the course of her play.”

Barry credits her teammates for much of her success, noting that starting as a freshman, their encouragement has helped build her confidence. The do-or-die nature of the playoffs also helps, she says. “For a game like Tuesday’s quarterfinal that could’ve been our last game, I really took the opportunity to step up for the team,” she says.

Despite pulling off that upset of Colgate this week, the Terriers are taking nothing for granted as they prepare for their matchup against Loyola today in Baltimore. The Greyhounds have dominated their opponents by an average margin of 7.3 goals overall this season and by an average of 12.9 goals against Patriot League opponents.

But the Terriers are confident that if they can stay focused, they should be able to get past Loyola and advance to the championship game on Sunday. “If we really use our strengths out on the field,” Barry says, “we definitely have a great chance to beat this team.”

The BU women’s lacrosse team takes on Loyola today, Friday, May 4, in the Patriot League semifinal at 4 pm at Loyola University’s Ridley Athletic Complex, 2221 W. Cold Spring Lane, Baltimore, Md. The Patriot League championship game is Sunday, May 6, at noon, also at Loyola. 

Jonathan Chang can be reached at jchang19@bu.edu.

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