Sports, Spring, Lacrosse

Eagles Surge Ahead Late, Hold Off Hofstra

Exactly 374 days ago, Boston College lacrosse unleashed a scoring barrage for the ages on Hofstra. Little did the Eagles know, that game would be their last of the 2020 season.

It was while the game clock was running that BC students received an email from University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., moving all classes online and requiring students to depart campus in just a few days

A brief moment of glory suddenly came to a devastating halt, but just over a year later, the Eagles seem to have rebounded, and done so in spades. No. 5/6 BC (5-1) overpowered the Pride (3-2) en route to a 19-7 win, the identical score which the Eagles put up against UMass earlier this month. 

For the majority of the contest, a win seemed readily at hand for BC. For all but about eight  minutes, the Eagles dictated the pace of the game, thanks in large part to Charlotte North’s commanding presence on draw controls. BC went on three different scoring runs across 60 minutes of play: one 4-0 run, one 8-0 run, and one 7-0 run to put a BC victory out of doubt. 

North is no stranger to media attention, but her consistent game-defining performances this season have rocketed her into the national spotlight more than ever. Saturday was no different for the senior, as she posted six goals and an assist on eight shots on goal. After not even 12 minutes, North had secured a hat trick. 

North, as usual, was the spark in the Eagles’ offense. In the first half, she won 12 of 13 draw controls, and though she lagged behind in the second half, North still finished with a 16-11 advantage from the center circle. 

By halftime, the Eagles were ahead 10-2 with no signs of slowing down. If anything, their offensive production ramped up after the break. Courtney Weeks scored BC’s 11th goal just 45 seconds into the second half, and she added another one 35 seconds later. With BC ahead by double digits, the clock began to run continuously, and all BC had to do was run it down. 

Hofstra, however, had other ideas. The Pride responded with three consecutive unassisted goals, swinging the momentum away from BC. Hofstra tacked on two more goals for a quick 5-0 run to bring the score to 12-7, and suddenly, the Eagles were on their heels. For the first time since 10 minutes into the contest, Hofstra was within striking range and threatening to give BC a run for its money. 

The fourth goal of that five-goal run was arguably Hofstra’s most remarkable. Rachel Hall had been a wall in net all game, but Arianna Esposito snuck one through Hall’s five-hole, and the goaltender had no shot at it. It rang off the post and found the back of the net. 

That goal, however, was a rare instance where a post shot went in Hofstra’s favor. The Pride hit pipe five times in the game, and only one went in Hofstra’s favor. 

Hall finished the game with seven saves, mostly on low shots. She struggled to contain shots painting the top corners but was agile in breaking down and getting her body in front of ground balls and skipping shots. 

BC head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein called a timeout as a result of Hofstra’s sudden scoring surge, and it seemed to be all the Eagles needed to find their stride again. BC returned to its lockdown defense inside the 12-meter fan which had been a staple through the first half. Defensive pressure helped BC force three turnovers in the second half, supplementing the attack while North struggled on draw controls. 

Belle Smith, 4-for-4 on shots on the day, broke the Eagles’ silence not once, but twice in a row to end the Pride’s comeback bid. The two goals marked Smith’s 11th and 12th of the season, and Cara Urbank followed her with two more, also her 11th and 12th of the season. 

The first of Smith’s goals came on a backhanded shot, and the second was a heroic no-look effort while spinning around a Hofstra defender. Pride goaltender Jess Smith didn’t see it coming. 

Annie Walsh then made it 18-7, Hoftsra won the ensuing faceoff, and Hall made a low-shot save with under a minute to go. She launched a 50-plus-yard pass—reminiscent of one that made the ESPN SportsCenter Top 10 in BC’s season opener—and BC finished off the game in its attacking zone. 

With the clock running again and ticking down under 10 seconds, Smith finished off an alley-oop pass from Urbank to ice the Eagles’ win. 

Featured Image by Kristian Lamarre / For The Heights

March 20, 2021

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