Sports, Spring, Lacrosse

Eagles Fight Off Late Surge, Down Virginia Tech on the Road

Just after the midway point of the second half, Boston College lacrosse attacker Kenzie Kent scored the Eagles’ final goal of Saturday afternoon, doubling Virginia Tech on the scoreboard with a 16-8 lead. The game seemed to be tucked away, and BC was seemingly coasting toward yet another win to continue its perfect season. Hokies attacker Taylor Caskey, however, snuck a shot past goaltender Abbey Ngai with just over six minutes left on the clock, jumpstarting the VTech comeback effort.

The No. 1 Eagles just barely survived that valiant push from the Hokies, as they allowed their opponent to go on a 5-0 run to close regulation. The comeback started just a bit too late for VTech, though, with BC holding on for a 16-13 victory.

The final score was not indicative of the game as a whole. The last 10 minutes might have been a bit sloppy for the Eagles (15-0, 6-0 Atlantic Coast), but the other 50 seemed to be quite fitting for the top-ranked program in the nation.

Much of BC’s offensive success started in the draw circle, where it outdrew its opponent, 19-12. Junior Sheila Rietano––who tallied a goal and an assist––made her presence known in the circle, winning control of four draws, which was a key point in the Eagles’ offensive success.

BC wasted no time in getting on the board, as first blood was drawn just 39 seconds in by Sam Apuzzo, followed by a quick strike from Dempsey Arsenault a minute later. For the first frame of the matchup, however, back-and-forth goals were traded on both ends of the field. The Hokies (8-8, 1-5) took a 4-3 advantage––which ended up being their only lead of the game––just before the midway point of the first frame.

Neither squad seemed to be able to separate itself, until head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein called a crucial timeout right after the 15-minute mark. The break in play sparked a 4-0 BC scoring run, starting with an Apuzzo-assisted goal from Kent and ending with a quick strike from Cara Urbank following another nifty pass from Kent. The first frame of play concluded with a 9-6 score in favor of the Eagles, with the Hokies trailing three goals behind.

BC’s defensive play was very up and down throughout the second half, finding itself slacking at different points in the matchup. On one hand, the Eagles were able to force their opponent to commit 15 turnovers overall. On the other hand, they couldn’t seem to stop Hokies top goal scorer Paige Petty, who ended up netting five goals, with two of these coming during their comeback effort in the final minutes of the game. Most importantly, their inability to stand strong defensively at the back half of the second frame directly resulted in that late scare.

With the way the Eagles were playing, it seemed that the Hokies only needed a couple more minutes to tie the game up. Yet much credit should be given to BC’s offensive powerhouses that gave eventually gave it a 16-8 lead with less than half of the game left to play.

BC’s lethal attack was led by four names familiar with the scoring sheet: Apuzzo, Kent, Arsenault, and Urbank. They all registered hat tricks for the Eagles and are now responsible for an impressive 68 percent of the Eagles’ goals thus far in the season. It is to nobody’s surprise that Apuzzo lead her squad with six points, tallying three assists in addition to the hat trick.

Goaltender Abbey Ngai had a strong day in net, accumulating seven vital saves on the day. She now boasts a perfect 11-0 record when starting between the pipes. With a comfortable lead established, though, senior Lauren Daly—the team’s starter at the outset of the year—was subbed in for Ngai with 6:06 left on the clock. She ended up conceding four of the five goals during that Hokies comeback attempt.

Saturday afternoon’s matchup marked the end of a five-game stretch of the Eagles facing teams ranked or receiving votes in the Inside Lacrosse Poll. They walked away not only the victors of all five games, but now seem to be the undisputed favorites for the national title.

Featured Image by Jonathan Ye / Heights Editor

April 13, 2019