Sports, Spring, Lacrosse

BC Erases Five-Goal Deficit, Escape Upset Bid From No. 11 Syracuse

Following its blowout win over Boston University, top-ranked Boston College lacrosse quickly faced its first conference challenger in No. 11 Syracuse. After last season’s last-second victory over the Orange, the Eagles found themselves up against a Syracuse team looking for a upset. But, led by a career-high 12 saves from Lauren Daly and seven goals from Sam Apuzzo, the Eagles bested their ACC rivals, 14-12.

The No. 1 Eagles (2-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) took control of the game right off the bat, winning the first draw and closed in on goalkeeper Asa Goldstock. Dempsey Arsenault was given a chance at a free-position shot within the first minute of action, but her bouncing attempt was saved by Goldstock. Syracuse (2-1, 0-1) was gifted a free-position shot of its own after Smith was pushed to the ground in front of Daly, but the experienced goaltender deflected the attempt with ease.

Despite the heavy offensive effort by the Eagles, it was Syracuse that drew first blood. Five minutes into the game, Meaghan Tyrell found herself on the doorstep and whipped a shot past Daly. It was only a matter of time before BC responded.

Syracuse made the mistake of leaving Apuzzo open, and the reigning Tewaaraton Award winner made the most of the opportunity and ripped a shot past Goldstock. But, after a wraparound shot by Nicole Levy with just seconds left on the shot clock, the Orange regained its lead. Shortly after, Syracuse began to pull away, starting with a Sam Swart goal. Soon enough, Syracuse was given another opportunity when Cara Urbank was called for slashing. The Eagles held off the Orange for the majority of the one-man advantage, but with just six seconds left Emily Hawryschuk charged on Daly and extended the Orange’s lead. Growing frustrated, BC’s defense got sloppy and was whistled for another foul. The mistake awarded Levy with a free-position shot, and the senior logged her second goal of the afternoon.

Shortly after, BC respond in the same fashion. Following her earlier try, Arsenault was given a second chance to best Goldstock on a free-position attempt. This time, she found twine, cutting Syracuse’s lead to three. The Eagles couldn’t build off Arsenault’s goal, though, as Syracuse answered with two more goals of its own, handing the Orange its largest lead of the game at five.

After a media timeout, Apuzzo set the tone for BC’s offense and quickly recorded her second goal of the day. Following the scoring play, Apuzzo picked up a pass from Arsenault and immediately whipped a shot on Goldstock, tallying her second hat trick of the season. Once Apuzzo logged back-to-back goals, the Eagles couldn’t be stopped. After drawing a check, Taylor Walker charged on Goldstock during her free-position attempt and further chipped away at the Syracuse lead—all in all, BC rounded out the half only trailing, 7-5, courtesy of three consecutive goals.

After a first half riddled with sloppy passes that turned into turnovers and, ultimately, Syracuse goals, the Eagles had a lot to prove heading into the second period. BC came out swinging, preventing Syracuse from getting comfortable, as Arsenault ripped a shot past Goldstock just 47 seconds in.

After the Orange answered, Kenzie Kent found Sheila Rietano from behind the cage—the junior had no one between her and Goldstock. The Washington D.C. native took advantage of her opportunity, and easily ripped twine. Then, Urbank cashed in on a free-position attempt, and all of a sudden the Eagles were tied with Syracuse.

The comeback wouldn’t be possible without Apuzzo, who led the 6-1 scoring run—the Orange defense simply couldn’t stop her. Following her hat trick in the first, she took a shot while falling to the ground from behind the cage, and Goldstock wasn’t prepared. The ball whipped past the goalkeeper, and the Eagles claimed their first lead of the game. Apuzzo was just getting started. After receiving a pass from Rietano, Apuzzo recorded her fifth goal of the game, becoming BC’s all-time goals leader (197) in the process.

The Orange tried to respond, and took shots on Daly whenever it had possession, but Daly was also heating up and met every shot with a corresponding stop. With countless opportunities for the Orange, Daly wasn’t fazed by the offensive charge, keeping BC’s two-goal lead alive. Halfway through the period, Apuzzo put her foot back on the gas. After a few minutes of defending their cage, the Eagles assumed possession and headed toward Syracuse territory. Kent passed the ball to her teammate, and Apuzzo was able to fake out Goldstock and log her sixth of the game.

The drought was soon over for Syracuse, however. Hawryschuk wound up on a free-position attempt and whipped it past Daly, giving the Orange just its second goal of the second half. A few minutes later, Hawryschuk came back with her fourth of the game, and the Orange was within one score of BC.

Following an Eagles timeout, head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein’s team came out swinging. Rietano beat Goldstock with a free-position shot, Apuzzo set up Arsenault for a hat trick, and the Eagles regained their three-goal lead. BC wasn’t done, though. With less than two minutes left in the contest, Apuzzo launched a shot from the air, and Goldstock couldn’t quite make the save, giving Apuzzo her seventh of the afternoon. Two late goals by Mary Rahal and Megan Carney cut BC’s lead in half, but the Orange couldn’t close in on BC in the final minute, as the Eagles secured their first ACC win of the season.

It was an impressive seven-goal day from Apuzzo, who was quiet in the season-opening win over the Terriers but proved why she merited last year’s national player of the year award. The Eagles have plenty of depth, and it’s a big reason why matchups with tough, conference-ranked opponents will likely continue to swing their way.

Featured Image by Alexa Spitz / For The Heights

February 16, 2019