Spring, Lacrosse

Arsenault, Apuzzo Guide Eagles to Landslide Victory at BU

The latest Inside Lacrosse Poll saw Boston College Lacrosse jump from No. 6 to No. 4 in the nation. The rise involved the Eagles leapfrogging over Syracuse and North Carolina to become the highest-ranked team in the ACC. With elevated status came added pressure and expectations for head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein’s crew. A matchup on Saturday with Commonwealth Avenue foe Boston University would be the team’s first test as one of the nation’s top-four teams.

BC passed with flying colors.

The Eagles secured an 18-6 victory over BU in a game that was much less competitive than last season’s contest—one that modeled that of a back-and-forth affair and left BC with a 13-11 win. Its offensive juggernauts put up thirty-six shots, converting on exactly half of them. The Eagles dominated ground ball and turnover battles, and their superb defense, which has been a pleasant surprise early-on, allowed just six goals and was 18-of-20 on clearances. BC resembled a group that was clicking on all cylinders, en route to its second-consecutive non-conference win.

No. 4 Boston College (3-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) opened the game with a stellar offensive attack. In the first two minutes, Elizabeth Miller and Sam Apuzzo found the back of the net to grab a quick 2-0 advantage. In the next few minutes, Boston University (0-1) threatened, but the Eagles defense held firm, and two big saves by Lauren Daly kept the Terriers scoreless.

After a whopping three minutes without scoring, the offensive onslaught resumed for the Eagles. BC piled on six goals in as many minutes to extend its lead to 8-0, silencing the upset-minded Terriers fans. Apuzzo found the back of the cage twice during the run, recording her second-straight hat trick within the first 10 minutes of the contest. Dempsey Arsenault also tallied two scores, one of which came off a beautiful pass from Apuzzo. The team thrived with strong individual open play early on, as only two of the first eight goals were assisted.

The Terriers decided to make a goalie switch to Bianca Smith after starting netminder Christine Laible allowed six goals without recording a save. Smith came on to make four stops in the final 20 minutes of the first half. BU finally ended the shutout 15 minutes into the frame off of a rebound scoop and score from Kailey Conry.

After the fiery start, the Eagles’ offense petered down into a more balanced attack to close out the first half. BC took its time on the offensive end, running clock while still setting up strong scoring opportunities. Cara Urbank and Carly Bell added their names to the long list of scorers, extending the Eagles’ lead to 10-1.

Arsenault recorded her third and fourth goals of the half off a pair of free-position attempts. BC didn’t take advantage of Terrier fouls early on, but it capitalized on those opportunities to close out the opening frame. A late BU tally sent the game into the break with a score of 12-2.

The Eagles continued to create scoring opportunities early in the second half, but Smith came up with save after save to thwart the BC offense as much as she could. Urbank ripped twine for her second of the day on a free-position shot, but BU’s Avery Donahoe responded with a goal.

The Terriers picked up the intensity in the second period, and the possession battle was much more balanced than that of the heavily tilted first half. In the first 15 minutes of the second half, BU matched the Eagles’ two goals with a pair of their own, keeping the BC lead at 10 in a 14-4 game.

Then Apuzzo—the heart and soul of the Eagles’ offense—took over. The junior applied pressure that led to a BU own goal, then facilitated a pass to Tess Chandler for the 16th goal of the game. Apuzzo followed up her six-goal performance against Holy Cross with eight points on Saturday, and her twelve total goals place her tied for first atop the nationwide leaderboard.

BU refused to quit, scoring two more goals to make it four in the second frame, but BC always had a response. Apuzzo netted her fourth, while Arsenault cashed in on her third free-position attempt of the day, giving her five goals to lead all scorers.

Coming into this game, the Eagles were ranked ninth and 10th in the country in defensive and offensive efficiency, respectively. They improved on both of these totals on Saturday, lifting their scoring average to 17 and reducing their goals allowed average to just over six.

With Saturday’s win, BC moved to 9-0 against its crosstown rivals during the Walker-Weinstein era. The Eagles still have a few months to live up to and improve upon their No. 4 ranking, but having already mowed down Holy Cross this season, it’s becoming pretty apparent that the Eagles are the best team in the state.

Featured Image by Amelie Trieu / Heights Editor

February 17, 2018