Is This The Year Boston U. Finally Gets Over The Patriot League Semifinals Hump?

(Photo Courtesy of Boston U. Athletics)

With 4:29 in remaining in the third quarter, Boston U. found themselves up 7-4 over Colgate with a fourth consecutive trip to the Patriot League semifinals on the line. However, an unnecessary roughness penalty on the Terriers gave Colgate their first power play (man-up) of the half and they quickly capitalized, cutting the lead to two.

The Terriers would go on to commit three more penalties before the final whistle blew and Colgate found the back of the net six more times (none while man-up) to end the contest on a 7-1 run and advance to the Patriot League semifinals. The loss marked the Terriers’ third in a row and blocked them from advancing to that fourth consecutive conference semifinals contest, and took away any chance Boston U. had at finally getting over that conference semifinals hump.

Ryan Polley led the Terriers to their first conference tournament appearance in 2017 and they fell, 10-7, to Army in the semifinals. They did the same against Loyola, 13-8, in 2018 and against Lehigh, 10-9, in 2019. The Terriers have seemingly accomplished everything except making the Patriot title game and the NCAA Tournament.

Coming off an ending as sour as the one the Terriers were dealt in 2021 and with as much talent as they bring back on both ends of the field, motivation won’t be hard to come by for this Boston U. squad as they head into the 2022 season.

Much of that returning talent for the Terriers lies on the offensive end where they ended the season tied for 26th nationally in scoring offense, averaging 11.82 goals per game. The Terriers also had a top-10 man-up offense, cashing in on 43% of their opportunities in 2021.

Vince D’Alto had a very strong freshman campaign during the shortened 2020 season, leading the Terriers in points and goals. The attackman followed up that performance with a stellar sophomore season, putting up 42 points off 23 goals and 19 assists to lead the Terriers’ offense once again, despite missing two of 11 contests. Serving as the alpha attackman for this Boston U. squad much of the year, D’Alto should continue to progress and there is no reason to think he can’t continue to lead this Terrier offense in 2022.

Junior attackman Louis Perfetto (18G/17A) started in all 11 contests while senior Timmy Ley (27G/7A) missed the final four games due to injury. With all three of their starting attackmen back as well as sophomore Christian Quadrino (14G/8A), who started and played at both attack and midfield in 2021, and midfielders Matt Baugher (10G/4A), Tommy Bourque (9G/2A), and Matt Hillburn (3G/7A), this Terriers offense has the potential to not only be one of the deepest but most versatile offenses in the Patriot League.

However, to be able to have a highly efficient offense you must first possess the ball. That is a question mark for the Terriers coming into the 2022 season with faceoff man Sean Christman, who went 67-for-131 (51%) last season, graduating. Christman wasn’t the most consistent player at the dot, but going over 50% all four years got the job done.

Boston U. returns sophomore Brian Garrity, who went 27-for-80 (33%) at the dot as the Terriers’ backup last season. Sophomore Harry Friedman (2-for-11) is their only other returnee who took any draws in 2021. It will likely be one of the two aforementioned faceoff men or Richmond transfer Jax Popovich, who saw no action for the Spiders as a freshman and left the team early in the spring, to take over as the Terriers’ No. 1 option at the dot.

Even if the Terriers’ faceoff performance dips next season, they at least will have a strong defense to fall back on and possibly help be a supplement to inadequate faceoff success in the possession battle. Boston U. returns a young-ish but experienced defense, only losing one starter from last year’s unit that ended the year tied with Navy and Quinnipiac as the nation’s 11th best scoring defense (10 goals allowed per game).

A year removed from housing the best LSM tandem in the nation with Reece Eddy and Chase Levesque, sophomore Roy Meyer stepped up and filled that void as the Terriers’ top LSM. The Long Beach, N.Y. native led the team in caused turnovers with 26 while being second in ground balls with 32. He ended the year sixth nationally in caused turnovers, tied with Delaware’s Owen Grant.

Junior Patrick Morrison (38GB/11CT) also had a breakout sophomore season in 2021, starting all 11 games at close defense and serving as one of the Terriers’ most disruptive poles. With the graduation of Nicholas Ellerton, seniors Will Carson (19GB/7CT) and Matt Gardner, and junior Charlie Heinz are the only other returnees at close that saw any starts last season. Carson started and played in eight games while Gardner saw action in seven games with one start. Heinz saw action in seven games with two starts.

Additionally, Matt Garber returns in cage for his senior season. The Connecticut native took over as the Terriers’ starter for the first time in his career, starting in all nine games in which he appeared. Garber recorded 114 saves with a .573% save percentage this past spring. Alex Gainey also saw action in six games and started twice as a junior in 2021.

With as much talent as the Terriers bring back on the defensive end, it is hard to see this unit regressing in 2022. That is especially true if they do find a solid fit at close to replace the loss of Ellerton and be as consistent a presence, and add even more firepower alongside Meyer, Morrison, and the likes. Defense has been a strong suit of this program for a few years now, and things don’t look to be changing anytime soon.

If this squad can put it all together on both ends of the field for a full season, the Terriers will likely have a very good chance at not only getting back to the Patriot League tournament but getting to that coveted conference title game. And with many expecting Loyola to be the top dog with a decent-sized pack of competitors behind them, the Terriers have a chance to make some serious noise.

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