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Division I Terriers gear up for Fall 2023

Jan 19, 2024Jan 19, 2024

Boston University boasts 24 varsity teams that compete in the NCAA's Division I across the fall and spring semesters. The men's ice hockey program is the best-known, but from basketball and soccer to cross country and field hockey, BU's student-athletes deserve recognition for the work put in long before the rest of their peers even arrive on campus. Here's what to know about some of the teams that will compete during the fall semester.

Field Hockey

The field hockey team had a successful 2022 campaign, posting a 5-1 in-conference record before eventually falling to Lehigh University in the Patriot League Final. They had one of the better offenses in the league, firing off the second-most shots and scoring the third-most goals in the PL. Junior forward Tess Csejka led the team in points with 21. Forward Payton Anderson was right behind her, scoring 20 and also becoming the first sophomore to ever be named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year. Legendary head coach Sally Starr will be entering her 43rd year at the helm of the program — a BU Athletics record for any head coach — and looks to return the team to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2017.

Women's Soccer

Casey Brown had big shoes to fill last season. She became just the second head coach in the program's history after Nancy Feldman — whose accolades are too numerous to list here — retired in April 2022. In Brown's first season in charge of her previous squad, the former Terrier guided the current Terriers all the way to the Patriot League Semifinals, where they were dispatched by Bucknell University after a scoreless tie led to a penalty shootout. The strong squad looks to return multiple standout players, including freshman midfielder and PL Rookie of the Year Giulianna Gianino and sophomore forward Morgan Fagan, who led the team in goals and tied for second in assists.

Men's Soccer

While not an unabashed success, the men's 2022 season continued their slow upward trend from their low point of 2019, where they posted a 4-12-1 record. They eked out a winning in-conference record for the first time since 2017, going 4-2-3, and made it to the Patriot League Semifinals, where Navy knocked them out after two overtimes and a penalty shootout that took a combined 20 tries. Hired in January 2020, head coach Kevin Nylen will be entering his second season without the consequences of COVID-19 rescheduling, and the growth of key underclassmen will be vital if the program wants to continue improving.

Men's Ice Hockey

A four-game losing streak in February threatened to derail the team's hopes of making it to the Frozen Four for the first time since their heartbreaking loss in the 2015 Finals, but the Terriers rallied and won nine in a row through the end of the regular season, the Hockey East Tournament and the NCAA Manchester Regional. However, they crashed back down to Earth in a 6-2 rout at the hands of the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the Frozen Four Semifinals. Despite such a harsh reality check, Jay Pandolfo's first season as a head coach showed that the Terrier legend was more than capable of bringing the best out of his squad. While former captain Dominick Fensore and assistant captain Drew Commesso have taken the leap to professional hockey, the return of freshman phenom Lane Hutson will undoubtedly turn every home game at Agganis Arena into standing-room-only.

Women's Ice Hockey

Former head coach Brian Durocher's last season as the program's leader since its inception in 2005 was a disappointing one by his lofty standards. Another former Terrier, he led the program to the 2011 and 2013 NCAA Tournament Finals and five Hockey East Tournament titles. He decided to retire from coaching following a 11-20-3 record in 2022-23. The squad struggled to find consistency and were never able to dig themselves out of the 8-loss hole in their first 11 games. Tara Watchorn, a former Terrier herself and Olympic gold medalist, will inherit a team that scored the joint-fourth-fewest goals in the Hockey East while allowing the fifth-most. If Watchorn wants to elevate the program back to the heights she reached as a player, the new head coach will have to bring the best out of her players while playing against some of the best teams in women's college hockey.

Women's Basketball

The women's basketball team had a fantastic regular season, posting a 22-7 record that included a 17-game win streak in the run-up to the Patriot League Tournament. They then proceeded to defeat both Loyola University Maryland and Army by double-digits before losing the Final to Turnpike Trophy-rivals Holy Cross by just five points. Their overall success did earn them a spot in the Women's National Invitation Tournament, but they lost in the first round to the University of Rhode Island. However, there is a lot to be excited about as head coach Melissa Graves enters her third season in 2023-24 after being named PL Coach of the Year in 2022-23. She coached the PL Defensive Player of the Year junior forward Caitlin Weimar, who was joined on the PL All-Defensive Team by two other Terriers. Pair that with an offense that averaged the second-most points in the conference, and Graves has clearly demonstrated an ability to run a well-balanced squad.

Men's Basketball

Head coach Joe Jones led his team to a middle-of-the-road 15-16 record in 2022-23, ending his 12th season in a two-point overtime loss to Army in the Patriot League Quarterfinals. Graduate wing Walter Whyte and graduate guard Jonas Harper — former high school teammates — earned All-Patriot League honors, with Whyte becoming just the third Terrier ever to earn four All-Conference distinctions. As for next year, with just four underclassmen listed on last season's roster, Jones will likely be working with an older squad in 2023-24. Whether their maturity will translate to wins on the court is yet to be seen, but hope remains that Jones will be able to return the program to the highs of 2020's PL Championship title.