To no surprise, Boston College women’s lacrosse begins its 2020 campaign as the No. 5 squad in the nation. Serving at the helm of the powerhouse program year after year, head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein entered Saturday evening’s contest against the instate rival UMass Amherst touting a perfect 7-0 record in season openers.
To much surprise, the Eagles (0-1-0) were unable to extend that streak to an eight-game stretch, falling in their season debut by a score of 11-15. The tilt marks BC’s first regular-season loss since 2017 and its first season-opening loss since the 2008 season.
It is no secret that BC will miss many of its game-changing playmakers from last year’s squad, such as Sam Apuzzo, Kenzie Kent, and Dempsey Arsenault. Nevertheless, it welcomes back IWLCA Preseason All-American honorable mentions in Cara Urbank, the team’s returning lead scorer, and goaltender Abbey Ngai, who ranked in the top five of national rankings for save percentage.
The additions of Duke’s previously leading goalscorer Charlotte North and Oregon’s former top-tier goalkeeper Rachel Hall built onto that firepower.
Hall struggled in her first contest as an Eagle, registering nine saves on 24 tests. North, however, wasted no time introducing herself, netting the first tally of the game with a free position goal to give BC an early lead. After two straight responses from the opponent, she tied things up with a second goal three minutes later.
After another couple of strikes from Haley Connaughton and Kelly Marra, UMass found itself reestablishing a lead that BC was unable to overcome for the remainder of the first frame.
The Eagles dug themselves into a deeper hole in the opening minutes of the second half, trailing by a score of 5-9 at their worst. But its lowest point was when BC began to develop a valiant comeback effort––one that saw North improve to a hat trick and teammates Jenn Medjid, Jordan Lappin, and Urbank register multi-point games. The Eagles found themselves regaining control of the contest after scoring five unanswered goals that were spread out over the span of nearly 10 minutes.
North, Lappin, Medjid, and Urbank combined for 12 points, as they will look to become familiar names on the scoresheet throughout the progression of their season.
Unfortunately, the lead they mustered up was far too short-lived––a mere 24 seconds, to be exact. After Connaughton tied the game up at 10 apiece, Stephanie Croke, Olivia Muscella, and Kaitlyn Cerasi joined in on the scoring. Struggling to maintain solid possession in the draw circle, the Minutewomen were able to ice things up with a 6-1 run to conclude the contest.
Oddly enough, the Eagles edged the Minutewomen in nearly every notable area of the stat sheet––they led in draw controls 16-12, forced five turnovers to UMass’ four, and held their own in the ground ball game throughout the majority of the contest. Despite striking first and playing what seemed to be a well-rounded game on both ends of the field, the Eagles simply could not get enough shots past Minutewomen goaltender Lauren Hiller, whose 13-save performance proved to be enough for UMass to snap its four-game losing streak against the Eagles.
Featured Image by Bradley Smart / Heights Senior Staff