What’s in store for field hockey’s Patriot League tournament
Second seeded Eagles head to Boston in search of a league title
Following its regular-season ending loss to BU, the AU field hockey team heads to Boston University this weekend in hopes of claiming the program’s 10th Patriot League Tournament title.
The Eagles fell to 11-6 on the season and 5-1 in the Patriot League after the loss to BU, sharing the regular season title with the Terriers, but losing the right to host the postseason Patriot League tournament. AU will play third seeded Holy Cross on Nov. 4, with the winner advancing to the championship game on Nov. 6.
The Eagles are making their 16th appearance in the four-team Patriot League Tournament, having qualified in each season since joining the Patriot League before the 2001 season.
AU defeated Holy Cross 8-1 in their regular season meeting on Sept. 17 in Worcester, Massachusetts. Senior forward Natalie Konerth recorded a hat trick while freshman forward Emily Hogan added two goals in the victory over the Crusaders. The Crusaders lost four of their final five regular season games, finishing with an 8-9 overall record and a 3-3 record in the Patriot League.
Holy Cross, making its first Patriot League Tournament in ten years, is led by junior forward Maureen Connolly, the Patriot League’s leader in points, who recorded 15 goals and seven assists. The Crusaders are fourth in the Patriot League in goals scored per game and third in goals allowed per game. Freshman goalkeeper Marcia LaPlante leads the Patriot League in save percentage and is second in goals allowed per game. LaPlante was named the Patriot League Goalkeeper and Rookie of the year and was named to the All-Patriot League first team along with Connolly.
AU enters the tournament with the league’s best offense (3.00 goals per game), led by Konerth’s 12 goal regular season goals and sophomore midfielder Rafaela Ruba’s 20 points. Junior forward Leah DiGiandomenico finished fifth in the league in points after posting 19 points and junior forward Haley Bowcutt finished ninth in the league in goals scored. Konerth, Rubas and junior defender Angela Virtu earned Patriot League first team honors while DiGiandomenico and junior defender Rachel Stefano were named to the second team.
The Eagles have the league’s second best defense, allowing 1.94 goals per game. Sophomore goalkeeper Maura Jacobs recorded 62 saves during the regular season while anchoring the Eagles backline.
BU, the two-time defending Patriot League Tournament champions, have the league’s best defense, allowing only 1.19 goals per game, and the second best offense, scoring 2.65 goals per game. Terriers senior forward Amanda Casser leads BU with eight goals and four assists. Cassera recorded two assists in the Terriers regular season victory over AU. Senior midfielder Hester Van der Laan, who recorded six goals and four assists, was named the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year while teammate senior Ellie Landsman was named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year. BU coach Sally Starr was named Patriot League Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year.
BU faces fourth seeded Bucknell University in the second semifinal on Nov. 4. BU defeated the Bison 2-1 in the regular season on Oct. 8 in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
AU has lost to BU in the Patriot League Tournament the past two seasons, falling 3-1 in the 2014 semifinals and 2-1 in the 2015 championship game.