For Boston College lacrosse attacker Sam Apuzzo, it seems as if a clash against a top-10 team is no big deal. Whether it’s a scarcely attended February game against Dartmouth or an April showdown against No. 7 Virginia in front of 1,500 people, Apuzzo has proven that she is unstoppable. That was the case on Saturday afternoon with a capacity crowd watching—after a quiet first two minutes of play, she rolled to a six-goal performance against the Cavaliers, lifting the Eagles to a comfortable 16-9 victory.
BC (12-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast) committed some uncharacteristic errors early on, and it looked like the Eagles might be locked in a tight game Saturday afternoon, but only for a moment. After its early stumbles, BC took no prisoners and cruised to a comfortable win over the seventh-ranked Cavaliers (9-4, 1-4). The Eagles gained momentum early and never truly lost it, scoring 10 goals in the first half, doubling up their visitors in draw controls in the process.
Following a shot clock violation in the first minute, BC’s offense settled down, thanks to some senior leadership. The Eagles’ dynamic duo of Apuzzo and Kenzie Kent teamed up for the first goal of the afternoon when a cutting Apuzzo buried a goal off a flashy feed from Kent behind the cage—UVA goaltender Charlie Campbell had no chance. Apuzzo wasn’t done, though. Two minutes later, the reigning Tewaaraton Award winner scored again after making a quick back-door cut to the net. UVA’s Ashlyn McGovern answered for the Cavaliers two minutes later, but it was all BC and Apuzzo for the remainder of the half.
The Eagles’ offense erupted in the last 20 minutes of the first frame, closing the period on an 8-0 run. Junior midfielder Cara Urbank opened the BC scoring deluge with the first of her three first-half goals. Dempsey Arsenault followed suit, with Apuzzo tossing a beautiful assist. Next up was Sheila Rietano, who scored an impressive unassisted goal to put the Eagles ahead, 5-1. After watching Rietano single-handedly break down the UVA defense, Cavaliers head coach Julie Myers called timeout.
Unfazed by the stoppage, the Eagles’ offense didn’t let up. Jordan Lappin and Urbank combined to score three goals in 90 seconds, with Urbank’s two goals both coming off a pair of attacking drives from behind the cage. Sam Apuzzo completed her first-half hat trick off a feed from Dempsey Arsenault, pump-faking twice before squeezing the ball past Campbell. BC went into halftime leading 10-1, due in no small part to the Eagles’ defense. BC forced turnovers left and right, and sophomore goalie Abbey Ngai made five saves in the opening period.
After the break, it seemed the Eagles would continue its first-half dominance, as Apuzzo scored her fourth goal of the afternoon just 35 seconds into the second period. UVA, however, rallied unexpectedly, rattling off four unanswered goals to cut the deficit to six. McGovern and Sammy Mueller led the charge for the Cavaliers offense, combining for three quick goals, while the UVA defense stymied the Eagles for more than 15 minutes. Campbell’s play also picked up in the second half—the junior netminder stopped four BC shots in a 10-minute span.
Although the Cavaliers fought back to make it a 11-5 game, their second-half comeback bid didn’t last long enough. With 13 minutes to go, Apuzzo scored an unbelievable goal, her fifth, to get the BC offense back on track. With less than 10 seconds remaining on the shot clock, Arsenault lobbed a pass to a streaking Apuzzo, who caught the ball and fired a shot quickly behind her head in mid-air. It was the most impressive play of the game, worthy of being shown on SportsCenter’s “Top Ten” segment.
For the final 10 minutes of regulation, both teams traded goals. Arsenault scored two more for the Eagles’, while UVA’s Mueller and Avery Shoemaker responded with goals of their own. Rietano recorded the dagger with less than eight minutes left to play, while Apuzzo put the game further out of reach with her sixth goal of the day.
Even with a 16-minute scoring drought, the Eagles mustered 16 goals, more than enough to dispatch their seventh ranked foe of the season. Without a doubt, Apuzzo was the star of the game. The ACC’s leading scorer logged six goals and an assist. Kent continued to display her unrivaled passing ability with three assists, while teammates Dempsey Arsenault and Cara Urbank notched hat-tricks of their own. Ngai was also solid in the crease for BC, making 10 saves on Saturday.
As for Apuzzo, the six goals she scored on Saturday against UVA now give her 59 on the season. What’s even more impressive is that the Eagles have only played 12 games, meaning that the senior is averaging nearly five goals per game. The comfortable win over UVA just furthered the impressive encore campaign for the West Babylon, N.Y. native. She is poised to win another Tewaaraton Award and, if the team continues to elevate their play against the nation’s best, perhaps a national title as well.
Featured Image by Jonathan Ye / Heights Editor