Midfielder Rachel Borzymowski (CAS’23) (center) leading a stretching drill before the Terriers 2-1 season-opening victory against Providence College August 26 at BC’s Newton Campus Field.
The Boston University field hockey team returned to action last month, splitting the first 4 matches of the 17-game regular season campaign. The August 26 season opener saw the Terriers welcome Providence College. And although officially a home game, the first whistle for the 2-1 win sounded at the Boston College Field Hockey Complex in Newton, not the Terriers’ home at New Balance Field, now undergoing a season-long renovation begun last spring.
The field will see a replacement of the playing turf to complement upgrades to the concourse, according to BU Athletics. Supply chain delays are making the completion date uncertain as yet. All Terrier home games are scheduled to be played at Harvard in Allston or at BC in Newton.
According to head coach Sally Starr, the renovations to New Balance are welcome. “It’s been a couple of years now that the field has not been great,” Starr says. “It would have been completed in time for fall season, but once they got into the project, late spring, early summer, they realized…there were more issues than they thought.”
When Starr learned of the delays, she immediately set to work finding a home turf to play on for the 2022 season. She spoke with Harvard field hockey coach Tjerk Van Herwaarden and BC coach Kelly Doton, and both supported hosting BU practices and home games on their fields.
The coach says the most challenging task was helping the team realign class schedules over the summer, since the Terriers had to switch from afternoon practices to morning ones to accommodate their hosts.
Players say they are making the best of the situation.
“I thought I was going to be a lot more upset about it,” midfielder Rachel Borzymowski (CAS’23) says. “I think I’ve found a lot of joy just playing with my teammates no matter where we were.”
“We’ve actually been able to have a lot of good bonding experiences in the team vans,” says midfielder Casey Thompson (Questrom’22,’23). “It’s been great, and I think all the girls have really just taken that little bit of adversity really well.”
“Our team just has such a great bond coming into it, we all jell right off the bat as BUFHA [BU Field Hockey Association],” Borzymowski says.
For Thompson, the team’s sole grad student, returning for her fifth year (made possible by a pandemic-caused league rule change) was a no-brainer, thanks to the culture surrounding the team. “I would say just the family culture on our team makes it super special,” she says. “I love coming to practice every single day and seeing all my teammates, my coaches, and we just have so much fun every practice. I think this last fifth year opportunity for me is just a chance to really enjoy, really soak it all in.”
But the biggest reason for her return, she says, is a shot at winning another Patriot League title. Thompson is the only player remaining from the Terriers’ last Patriot League Championship, in 2018, her freshman season.
There are six new players on this year’s roster, and season-ending injuries to forward Maddie Hudson (CAS’26) and back Celia Nocivelli (COM’26) have been another hurdle for the team. The four remaining freshmen have already made an impact. Two athletes hail from South America—forward Martu Coulo (CAS’26) grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and forward Amalia Preece (CAS’26) is from Santiago, Chile. Midfielder Megan Wetzel (CAS’26) comes from Texas and forward Natalie Epperson (Questrom’26) from Wisconsin.
“All four freshmen playing for us are really giving us quality,” Starr says. “Coming into this fall season, we thought we’d have a really strong, deep bench. But now we have a very strong, shallow bench”
Coulo has started all four of this season’s contests, assisting on a goal by forward Tess Csejka (CAS’24) against the University of New Hampshire on August 28.
“They’ve all really embraced our culture and I think are adjusting very well to college and playing at the Division 1 level,” Borzymowski says. “So we’re super happy with them coming in. I feel very lucky to have a freshman class like them.”
The Terriers have four contests under their belt so far this season, winning their home opener against Providence before dropping the next match, with UNH, 5-2. Wildcats freshman forward Tasmin Cookman scored three goals in the contest.
The team then faced No. 5 ranked Iowa University on September 2, and Saint Louis University September 3. BU faltered in their contest with the Hawkeyes, falling 4-0, but returned the following day to win 2-1 over the Billikens.
“When we look at our games, we like to think about what went well and what needs work,” Starr says. “I have a team that’s willing to put in the work and willing to reflect and say, ‘Yeah, you know, this is what we really need to get better at.’”
Next up, BU travels to UMass Lowell on Friday, September 9, before hosting the University of Vermont in Allston on Sunday, September 11.
Players hope that despite the absence of a home field, fans will continue to come out for games.
“It’s super important that we get the BU community out there, helping support us and helping us in our pursuit of winning that Patriot League championship,” Thompson says.
The Terrier field hockey team visits UMass Lowell Friday, September 9, at 6 pm. The squad next hosts Vermont Sunday, September 11, at 1 pm, at Harvard’s Berylson Family Field Hockey Field in Allston. The Terriers open Patriot League play Saturday, September 17, when they host Lehigh at Harvard at 1 pm. Admission is free and home games can be streamed live on ESPN+.
BU Field Hockey Begins 2022 Season without a Home of Its Own
Charles Moore (COM’24) can be reached at email@example.com. Profile
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