May 8, 2009

BU Buzzsaw Revisits Site of First Demise

by J. Jude Hazard | Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online

Traci Landy's ability to haul in draws could key BU's bid for an NCAA tournament first-round upset at Sunday seventh-seeded Syracuse. The Orange drubbed the Terriers, 17-8, on March 4.

Boston University seniors Sarah Dalton, Kelly Munroe and Steph Walker have one more shot at NCAA tournament greatness.

"We come to practice every single day and we play for them," junior Traci Landy said. "We want to keep this season going for them, because the three of them have put so much into our program that words can't express it."

The Terriers are headed to the NCAA tournament for the fourth year in a row and will face Syracuse at the Carrier Dome on Sunday.

No. 12 Boston University (15-3) will have to defeat an Orange team that erased a two-goal halftime deficit the last time the teams met to drub the Terriers, 17-8. Syracuse (13-4) outscored BU 12-1 in the second half.

The Syracuse defeat set off three consecutive losses to ranked teams within seven days for the Terriers.

"After those three losses, we made a promise to each other that we were going to go out there and play better every day we stepped on the field," Landy said. "We want [the seniors] to go out on top because they deserve it."

BU has won 13 straight games since those three losses.

"When you're winning, everyone's having more fun," BU coach Liz Robertshaw said. "You have to go through those highs and lows to really find out what you're team's about."

Robertshaw said prior to the March 4 matchup that BU would have to limit Syracuse's three scorers -- Halley Quillinan, Christina Dove and Katie Rowan. Those three players combined for nine goals against BU in March and have 140 goals on the season -- 56 percent of the Orange's scoring this year.

 "They have three scorers that you have to stop," Robertshaw said this week. "Defensively, we have to try to slow them down and limit their production. They killed us last time, and that's something we have to not let happen again."

Robertshaw said the team has improved the last nine weeks, citing better chemistry among the attack, a clearer purpose on defense and higher overall team confidence.

BU will arrive in Syracuse on Saturday morning but won't take the field at the Carrier Dome until just before Sunday's game. Robertshaw said she was looking forward to finals week ending so her team could focus entirely on lacrosse.

The Orange's only loss in seven home games this year came in February against then-No. 4 Virginia. Syracuse has outscored opponents 112-58 at the Carrier Dome this season.

"Walking in, it's a little intimidating because it's so huge," Landy said, recalling the matchup at the Carrier Dome in March. "I think the reason why we had such a great first half was because it really got everyone's intensity up."

Landy said she will look to win the draw control and help BU maintain the possession on Sunday.

"Everyone knows their role, is comfortable with their role, and I think we're ready to produce," she said. "This is a good Syracuse defense. I just want to make smart decisions."

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