Spring, Lacrosse

Rix And Mannelly Dominate As BC Dismantles UConn

There are some blowouts that are fun to watch, where one team runs up the score and there are astounding plays that make the crowd ooh and ahh in wonder. Then there are the types of blowouts like the one No. 3 Boston College (8-0, 3-0 ACC) had over the University of Connecticut (4-4, 0-0 Big East) on Saturday.

BC thoroughly and completely dismantled the Huskies in Newton, winning 13-5 in a game that wasn’t as close as the scoreboard showed. It was a dominant performance, where the Eagles jumped out to an early lead and went on cruise control for the rest of the game.

It was a stark contrast from BC’s previous game, during which the team was constantly playing catch-up against a tough University of Louisville opponent. Head coach Acacia Walker has said that her favorite aspect of this iteration of the Eagles is its athleticism, and it was clear that BC had a sizeable advantage over UConn in this category.

Time and again in the first half, BC’s attackers scored, and in varied ways, toying with the UConn defense and goalie Shannon Nee. The Eagles drove the net, ripped shots from the arc, and deked their way to an 8-3 lead by halftime. BC scored three goals in the first 4:18 of the game before easing up on the gas pedal for a short stint, during which UConn managed to tie the game.

That was as close as UConn would be for the rest of the game, as Mikaela Rix and Sarah Mannelly spearheaded the assault, with contributions coming from some unlikely places. Two BC players scored their first goals on the year. Junior midfielder Kara Magley scored her first to extend BC’s lead to 7-3, and junior defender Molly Erdle earned a free position shot with 45 seconds to go, and converted for her first goal of the season.

On an occasion when Covie Stanwick was held to a quiet day on the score sheet, Walker insisted Stanwick was still a vital piece of the offense, calling her the “quarterback”. If that’s true, Stanwick’s QBR was off the charts on Saturday, as she constantly found her teammates, with Caroline Margolis, Tess Chandler, Magley, and Erdle all tallying a goal (along with the stalwarts Mannelly and Rix, who added three and four goals, respectively.)

UConn’s Nee managed to play very well despite the barrage of shots coming at her from all directions. She made 10 saves and played very aggressively, oftentimes intercepting passes in and around the crease. Occasionally, Nee’s aggressiveness hurt her, as on one of her two goals, Stanwick drew Nee out of the crease, deked, and had a clear shot at the goal.

However, the biggest factor for BC was its defense. Other than an early run during which UConn scored three in a row to tie the game, the Huskies were completely shut down. What had been a sieve in a tough game against the Cardinals became a stone wall against UConn. BC’s help defense was markedly improved, and UConn failed to generate chances while the Eagles racked up turnovers. At one point, the Huskies went 36:59 of game time without scoring a single goal, and it didn’t hurt that BC goalie Zoe Ochoa made seven saves and only allowed five goals. Coach Walker was much more satisfied with her team’s effort and execution, saying the difference was simply in following the game plan.

BC’s game was not without its faults, however, as the Eagles themselves were plagued with unforced errors and mistakes. BC committed 17 turnovers in the game, most of which came after the game was well in hand. Errant passes were plentiful, and ground balls were consistently akin to a rugby scrum (let’s be honest, if you’re reading this article, you probably watch a lot of weird sports, so you know exactly what I’m talking about).

Walker, while concerned with her team’s sloppiness, attributed a lot of that to the weather—a steady, unrelenting rain pelted the field for the entirety of the game, though at least both teams could take solace in the fact that it wasn’t snow, making the turf slick and untenable for a clean lacrosse game.

Though it wasn’t pretty, and oftentimes wasn’t the type of offensive fireworks show many have come to expect from the Eagles, the strong showing was a welcome sight to those who suffered heart palpitations watching the Louisville game. In 60 minutes of gametime, BC systematically deconstructed the Huskies both offensively and defensively. While it wasn’t the most exciting game to watch, it was an impressive display of strength from a team that seems to continue to overcome each obstacle thrown at it.

Featured Image by Graham Beck / Heights Senior Staff

March 16, 2015