Sports, Spring, Lacrosse

BC Shakes Off Sloppy Start, Fights Past Albany

Just 32 seconds after the opening draw control, Boston College lacrosse slotted an early goal against Albany. Dempsey Arsenault won the first draw and secured possession for the No. 1 Eagles, and, after a lightning string of passes, Sheila Reitano fed Sam Apuzzo for her 45th goal of the season. Apuzzo subsequently won the next draw control, and it seemed like BC was poised for yet another dominant run to open the game.  

Albany settled in on defense for the next six minutes, though, and by the 10-minute mark,  the Great Danes had goals from Kyla Zapolski and Hannah Newman to take a slim 2-1 lead—the first deficit BC had faced since Northwestern scored the game’s opening goal two games back. It was a sluggish first 10 minutes from the Eagles, who had entered on a nine-game winning streak with the last four victories coming against ranked opponents.

As is the case time and time again, however, BC’s offense was too much to overcome. A 6-2 run from the Eagles midway through the half provided the push they needed, eventually fighting off a pesky Albany side, en route to a 17-9 win in their second to last non-conference game of the year.

BC (10-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) saw goals from seven different players in the win, paced by a four-goal effort from Apuzzo—who also registered eight draw controls—and three apiece from Arsenault and Kenzie Kent. The Great Danes (4-4) outplayed their record, but the signs were there of a tough team, as Albany had lost to ranked opponents in Stanford and Penn State by a combined five goals.

Once the Great Danes took an early 2-1 lead, they were at a brief stalemate after BC’s Jordan Lappin answered with a free-position shot. A few minutes later, though, Arsenault tallied two quick goals to give her team a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Albany would occasionally answer back but would fail to pull within less than two for the rest of the game.

By the end of the first half, behind goals from Cara Urbank and Maggie Casey, the Eagles led, 8-5. BC’s consistent offensive success in the latter stages of the half had led to seven goals in a 20-minute span, creating a positive outlook at the break—but the Great Danes still lurked close behind within striking distance.

Albany head coach Katie Rowan seemed to demand more aggression from the Great Danes during halftime, as two Albany defenders were called for fouls before a minute had even passed in the second half. Lappin capitalized on the first foul, scoring her second goal of the game on a free-position shot to extend the Eagles’ lead to four goals. Consistent possession and outstanding defensive performances from veterans like Elizabeth Miller shut down flashes of offensive threats and attempted speedy attacks from Albany. BC went on to outscore its visitors, 8-3, the rest of the way—Kent had three goals in the second, and Apuzzo chipped in two more—to secure the final eight-goal margin of victory.

The Eagles, who remain undefeated now 10 games into the season, have proven their ability to create offensive chances. They outshot Albany by a comfortable 44-25 margin, with 65 percent of those shots fired on net. In addition, the Eagles were victorious on 19 draw controls, as opposed to the Great Danes’ nine. Another key strength of the nation’s first-ranked offense is its ability to draw fouls, and BC was awarded 10 free-position shots, double that of the Great Danes. Finally, Eagles goaltender Abbey Ngai remained reliable in the cage, recording 12 saves—the fourth time she’s done so this year.

Tuesday not only marks head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein and BC’s 10th victory this season, but the win over Albany is also the Eagles’ 10th double-digit scoring performance of the year. In fact, the Eagles offense’s least productive day on March 1 against No. 24 Southern California still yielded 12 goals. Even when the team seems to suffer through sluggish stretches of play, it’s proved time and time again that it can flip the switch.

While BC has steamrolled its way to a 10-0 record, this Saturday may very well be the Eagles’ biggest challenge yet, as they travel to Chapel Hill to face off against No. 3 North Carolina in a rematch of last year’s ACC Championship game, which the Tar Heels won. Following Saturday’s contest, four out of six of the Eagles’ remaining opponents are ranked, but, if veteran defenders can continue to feed their hyperproductive offense, the team has a good chance to replicate last year’s perfect regular season.

Featured Image by Jess Rivilis / Heights Staff

March 19, 2019