FIELD HOCKEY: Eagles Set To Take On Virginia, PC
UVA Coming To Newton With Two Olympic Stars
Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
Coming off a disappointing double-overtime loss against James Madison this past Sunday, the No. 22 Boston College field hockey team will take on the No. 7 University of Virginia Cavaliers at home this Friday at the Newton Sports Complex. With just a day to recuperate and regroup, they will then take on Providence College in Rhode Island on Sunday.
The Eagles face off against nationally ranked Virginia at 7:00 p.m., and head coach Ainslee Lamb predicts an exciting game. She acknowledges that Virginia may give BC some trouble from their two Olympic athletes, Michelle Vittese and Paige Selenski. Lamb believes that the experience of the two Olympic athletes poses as an “exciting challenge for our players. They’re excited to go head to head against them.”
Virginia will go into Friday’s game with a record of 7-3, which compares to the Eagles’ 4-4 record. According to Lamb, the Eagles don’t need to significantly alter their playing strategy. While the team has made some adjustments to its press, Lamb is confident that the Eagles “just need to prepare BC,” meaning they do not plan to compromise their strategy or style in the face of the Cavaliers.
In addition to Virginia’s two Olympic athletes, Lamb recognizes that the Cavaliers have demonstrated a strong offense so far this season. The Cavaliers score an average of about four goals a game, making them a considerably high-scoring team. They scored 14 goals against Towson, and in their lowest scoring games scored two goals. Lamb believes the Eagles’ offense can keep up with any goals scored by the Cavaliers.
“We match quite well,” Lamb said.
Lamb feels that while Virginia may have several standout players, the Eagles have a strong team up and down the roster.
“Our team has a solid core,” Lamb said, adding that the team’s level of strength as a whole has been “overall higher than it has been in the past.”
Looking further ahead to Sunday, the Eagles will compete in a non-league game against the Friars in Providence at 3:00 p.m. Although the outcome of the game does not affect BC’s standing within the ACC, it will affect the national ranking of the team. Additionally, Providence is considered a regional opponent, making the game of “equal value” to Lamb and the Eagles.
“They are a much improved team from last year,” Lamb said of the Friars. “They have an emotional energy and a will to win.”
Providence has already improved its record from last year, when it ended the 2011 season with a record of 4-14. With a current record of 5-2, Providence has so far performed similarly to the Eagles against several mutual opponents. Both the Eagles and the Friars lost to Boston University by a margin of one goal. Both teams also defeated Harvard 3-0.
Lamb considers BC’s midfield to be the team’s greatest weapon in Sunday’s game. Although the midfield is young, with no seniors, Lamb says this year’s midfield is “more developed.”
Both of this week’s games fall at the Eagles’ halfway point through the regular season. Lamb believes these games will reflect the ways in which the Eagles have improved throughout the season.
“We learned something from each past game—both tactical and technical,” she said.
Lamb also added that despite the outcome of some of the games, the Eagles have had the ability to defeat all of the teams they have played against so far.
With both games in mind, Lamb predicts that several players will have their chance to give outstanding performances this weekend. Captains Jaqui Moorfield and Kara Mackintire, according to Lamb, will be essential to these games both on and off the field. Their “drive to be successful” will help their teammates play through what Lamb called “the midseason grind.”
Midfielders Emma Plasteras and Paige Norris will also be key to combating both the Friars and the Cavaliers. Lamb said that goalkeeper Leah Settipane will continue to help “motivate the defense to play hard around her,” in addition to keeping up her performance in goal.
Lamb is confident in her team’s ability to compete this weekend, believing the team’s skill and experience has set them “in the upswing” after last weekend’s losses against James Madison and Maryland.
“They know they can win the games,” Lamb said.