Top Story, Spring, Lacrosse

Uncharacteristically Low-Scoring Eagles Hold on to Beat No. 17 Dartmouth

In a matter of nine minutes, what looked like a blowout turned into an upset in the making. After scoring the first four goals of Wednesday afternoon’s game against Dartmouth, Boston College lacrosse dropped the ball—literally. The Eagles committed five turnovers over the course of the next 14 minutes, all while conceding five goals.

Not only was BC trailing by one, but it was also struggling to materialize any sort of offense. That was, until Dempsey Arsenault approached the 18 with under 10 minutes remaining in the first half. She faked left—shaking her defender in the process—veered right, and bounced a shot past Dartmouth goalie Kiera Vrindten. Arsenault’s goal marked the first of seven-consecutive Eagles scoring plays, completely shifting momentum in BC’s favor.

Although the Big Green held head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein’s team—the second-highest scoring unit in the country—without a goal for the first 22 minutes and 36 seconds of the back half of play, the Eagles’ first-period scoring spurt ended up being just enough to ensure a 13-10 victory—BC’s eighth over a ranked opponent this season.  

The No. 2 Eagles (15-0, 5-0 Atlantic Coast) controlled the contest in the opening minutes—in fact, they kept the ball away from No. 17 Dartmouth (7-3, 3-1 Ivy League) for three-straight possessions after winning the game-opening draw control. It only took BC 57 seconds to get on the board. After working the ball around the perimeter, Arsenault fired a shot through the legs of Vrindten, drawing first blood.

Sam Apuzzo won the ensuing draw control, ultimately setting up her own free-position shot. The nation’s leading scorer went far post, notching her 57th goal of the year. Refusing to take their foot of the gas, the Eagles claimed their third draw in a row. At midfield, Apuzzo flicked the ball up in the air—right on cue, Arsenault tracked it down, pushed the tempo and sent a pass back to her classmate. The junior went the distance, whipping up a shot that was saved by Vrindten. Fortunately for BC, Tess Chandler scooped up the ground ball and, soon enough, ripped twine for the Eagles’ third scoring play of the afternoon. Moments later, Chandler was back at it again, this time cutting inside for a catch-and-shoot goal, the 99th of her career.

Winners of four of the game’s first five draw controls, BC was clearly in the driver’s seat. But all it took was one Big Green goal to flip the script. Tori Chanenchuck dished a pass to Kierra Sweeney, who promptly scooted by Apuzzo to record Dartmouth’s first goal of the day. All of 40 seconds later, the junior attacker split a pair of defenders outside the crease and beat Eagles keeper Lauren Daly at the net. Katie Bourque, Chanenchuk, and Ellie Carson kept the ball rolling, tacking on three more goals, capping off the Big Green’s 5-0 run.

Desperate to get her team back on track, Walker-Weinstein called a timeout with 11 and a half minutes left in the frame. The decision paid off: It wasn’t long before Arsenault tied the game up at five, and Apuzzo retook the lead. Then came the onslaught—five different BC players scored to close out the half, including Arsenault, who recorded her 12th hat trick of the season, and Brooke Troy, who found the back of the net for the first time since March 2 against Binghamton. Up 11-6, the Eagles were on pace to log their sixth double-digit victory of the year.

Dartmouth wasn’t going to let BC off that easy, though. The Big Green mirrored that of a thorn in the Eagles’ side, upping their physicality in the second half. When all was said and done, the Ivy League representative was called for 32 fouls on the day—15 of which came in the latter portion of the contest. The Big Green also had a knack for drawing a handful of whistles of their own. Just 48 seconds into the period, Campbell Brewer scored an acrobatic goal inside the 18, despite being fouled. The scoring play appeared to catch the Eagles—a group that Walker-Weinstein said was lacking effort and a winning attitude—off guard.

After rattling off seven-straight goals toward the end of the first half, BC’s offense once again went quiet, coughing up the ball more than its traditionally accustomed to. Neither team scored for the next nine or so minutes, as the game experienced a multitude of interruptions, including a shot clock malfunction that forced the players to wait around in the brisk temperatures for about 10 minutes. If the Eagles weren’t already out of sync, that mini-intermission just about did it. BC didn’t score until the seven and a half-minute mark in the second period. Meanwhile, Dartmouth was catching fire, giving Walker-Weinstein and Co. a scare.

Led by Brewer, the Big Green tallied four-consecutive goals in the span of 10 minutes and 10 seconds, cutting their deficit to just one. Dartmouth was on the verge of completing a monumental comeback against the No. 2 team in the country. But, like she had all day, Arsenault came through when BC needed her most. After being fouled, the junior scored on a free-position attempt, putting an end to the Eagles’ period-long scoring drought. Less than a minute later, Apuzzo created a bit of separation with her third goal of the game.

Daly and the Eagles’ backline held on tight for the remaining six and a half minutes of regulation, preserving their undefeated season. The game will go down as another win in the record book, but Walker-Weinstein labeled the three-goal victory as something else.

“It’s a huge wake-up call, which is awesome,” she said. “We needed one—it’s perfect timing coming up on our Virginia Tech game on Saturday. Overall, [the game was] not so great. But luckily, it’s not the end of the year and luckily we won.”

Featured Image by Amelie Trieu / Heights Senior Staff

April 11, 2018

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