Boston College lacrosse may have the best offense in the country, but on Saturday afternoon Virginia one-upped the Eagles, at least on paper. The Cavaliers not only boasted the game’s top scorer, but also the assists and shots leader. At face value, the box score didn’t add up to BC’s 13th-consecutive win.
Even so, goalie Lauren Daly came up with seven stops, and the Eagles held on to extend their program-record win streak, logging a 15-12 victory, their first-ever in Charlottesville, Va.
Dempsey Arsenault, Tess Chandler, and Kaileen Hart led the charge for No. 2 BC (13-0, 4-0 Atlantic Coast), recording a trio of hat tricks. Cara Urbank stood out as well, tacking on two goals and the only Eagles assist of the game.
That said, the efforts of Daly, Arsenault, Chandler, and Urbank were lacking at the opening whistle. Avery Shoemaker kicked off the game with two goals in the first three minutes, propelling No. 7 UVA (8-3, 3-2) to an early lead—one that it would hold until over halfway through the first period. An Arsenault goal set the Cavaliers back, but Shoemaker quickly found twine again, and Kasey Behr added a goal of her own to give UVA an early 4-1 advantage.
Momentum shifted 11 minutes into the frame. Urbank struck for her first goal of the game, and Daly put on a show on the other end of the field. Cavaliers forward Sammy Mueller got off a one-touch shot as the shot clock neared zero, only to see Daly come up with a much-needed stop.
It isn’t a coincidence that Arsenault and Chandler immediately notched a pair of free-position goals to tie the game at four, following Daly’s save. At this point, UVA head coach Julie Myers knew she needed to make a change before the game got out of hand. As a result, she yanked goalie Rachel Vander Kolk—a senior captain—and inserted sophomore Charlie Campbell. Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, the substitution didn’t stop the bleeding.
Taylor Walker scored her 10th goal of the season, handing BC its first lead of the day. Soon after, Chandler tacked on another to give the Eagles some breathing room. Just as it seemed like BC was primed to blow the game wide open, Campbell settled in. She buckled down and made a big save on Urbank, and the Cavaliers streaked downfield, where Chloe Jones squeezed a shot by Daly to reduce UVA’s deficit to one goal. Less than a minute later, Shoemaker scored her fourth of the day and 32nd of the season to tie the game at six.
Deadlocked at six, neither team found the back of the net during the final six and a half minutes of the period. The halftime stats showed what a remarkably even-keeled period the first frame really was: BC had the edge in shots by one, in saves by two, in draw controls by one, and in turnovers by two.
After the Cavaliers managed to limit the Eagles’ three-headed attack—a trio of scorers consisting of Sam Apuzzo, Hart, and Arsenault—to just one goal in the opening period, Hart scored twice in six minutes to restore the Eagles’ two-goal advantage.
Then, Jones countered with UVA up a player after Urbank was shown a yellow, Arsenault completed her hat trick, and Ana Hagerup scored her first goal of the game nearly 13 minutes into the second half. The back-and-forth affair ended there.
BC decided to showcase its offensive might with over 11 and a half minutes remaining in the contest. Emma Schurr, Chandler, Elizabeth Miller, Hart, and Urbank all scored within seven minutes of gameplay. Suddenly, a matchup that hadn’t seen more than a two-goal lead since early in the first half had gone from a one-possession game to a six-goal blowout with just 4:50 to play.
Yet the Cavaliers, namely Mueller, were far from done.
Less than half a minute after Urbank scored the Eagles’ 14th goal, Mueller streaked down the field and finished through contact past Daly to make it a five-goal game. Nineteen seconds later? Exact same play, exact same result, minus the foul. Mueller then relaxed, waiting a full 76 seconds before she tied off her hat trick, bringing the score to 14-11 with just under three minutes to go.
Despite her efforts, UVA’s late comeback fell short. BC pulled itself together following Mueller’s final scoring play, in attempt to kill off the clock. Campbell abandoned her net to try to press the Eagles’ attack, but the strategy backfired, and Apuzzo was left with an easy finish on the other end of the field—her 53rd goal of the season, effectively the dagger. Hagerup would put up a final consolation goal, making the game appear closer than it really was.
BC is firing on all cylinders, as evidenced by the fact that Apuzzo—the team’s best player, who found herself pursued by two or three Cavaliers defenders every time she cradled the ball—only managed a single goal in the Eagles’ sixth ranked victory this season.
As long as BC is able to pair its offensive depth with solid defense, it stands to reason that this incredible run of form could be sustainable—but BC did show cracks at the beginning and end of Saturday’s contest. They are far from an unbeatable team, but right now, the Eagles certainly look the part.
Featured Image by Andy Backstrom / Heights Editor