Looking For The Achilles Heel In The Numbers
Boston University arrives tied for first place in the Patriot League with having beaten American University in overtime and last week getting by Colgate 2-0. The win against Colgate was not received well by the BU coaching staff as head coach Sally Starr did not appear for her usual post game interview for the cameras, leaving it for an assistant coach.
The numbers for Boston are not particularly impressive but Starr seems to get the most out of what she has in any given year. This year, the anchor for the team is their defense and Starr has used it to win 6 out of her 9 games in a very difficult schedule. She has found wins against Colgate, American, Northwestern, Miami, New Hampshire, and Northeastern. Loses include being blown out by Penn State, a 2 goal loss to Ohio State, and a tough defensive battle but loss to common opponent Maine 1-2,
Their top scores are Ailisa Conolly with five goals and Petra Hall with 4. That would account for 9 of their 21 goals though Ally Hammel, their fine defender, has taken 16 shots comparable to the leading scorers with shots of 16 and 18. Overall they have taken 112 shots with an 18.8 pct shot percentage.
The Leopards on the other hand have also taken about the same number of shots (117) with less effectiveness (11 pct). The Leopards two wins have come against archival Lehigh in an overtime game and Drexel also in overtime. Losses are with Fairfield, Richmond, William and Mary, Temple, Albany, Maine, and Liberty. The Leopards are capable of playing an up tempo game which does give them better results and will need that capability more with the defensive minded Terriers.
I’ve watched several games there is a pattern to their basic strategy. Their offense starts with their sturdy defense and in that structure may expose what Starr is compensating for. Though they have a 1.55 goals against average the save percentage is less than 60 pct. Boston will compensate by throwing in a 4 player backfield and defending their third of the field and often time stopping penetration of even the fifty. They will press from the outset and that sets up their offense.
It is a virtual certainty the Leopards will see that press but in recent weeks the Leopards with their three back defense led by co-captains Bird and Van der Geest have been able to get the Leopards to the shooting circle.
The Terriers have earned 51 penalty corners while giving up 58. Lafayette has 58 corners while giving up 37. Can the Leopards get to the circle and produce enough shots and score while holding the Terriers to the middle of the field ? Starr was not happy with her team’s last two outings, but the Leopards seems to be. improving. This could be a very good game. It is on Lafayette’s home turf and with a pro Leopard crowd Lafayette could put themselves in a great position within the League. It is their only game of the week and there has been lots of time to prepare and look at tapes. Who knows..maybe another overtime win??? This will be their toughest in- league game. Will we see a Leopard press to surprise the visitors? Saturday….at noon we will see.