With a little under three minutes left in the first half, No. 2 Boston College lacrosse already appeared to be on the verge of victory, as they held a 10–2 lead. But junior Emma LoPinto was looking to put the icing on the cake.
LoPinto ran up from behind the net and rifled the ball behind her back and into the open top corner past UMass’ Catrina Tobin.
“I kind of was at x and I drove up the right side and I felt her overplay me a little,” LoPinto said. “I was kind of just like, I’m just gonna whip this behind, hope it goes in and it went in.”
In a commanding performance to open the season, BC (1–0) dominated UMass (0–1) from start to finish en route to a 20–9 win at the Fish Field House on Friday afternoon.
The Eagles, led by Cassidy Weeks, started strong from the opening faceoff. Weeks scored the first goal less than three minutes in, and followed that up with another goal halfway through the quarter on a free-position shot after a UMass holding penalty.
“They came out and had a really great start,” BC head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein said. “They handled the pressure of a really good UMass team. I’m really happy with them.”
After a third BC goal put the Eagles up 3–1 with 6:36 left in the first, UMass turned up the pressure. Fiona McGowan passed it to a Charlotte Wilmoth, who cut through BC’s defense from the side and fired a shot past Shea Dolce to narrow the Eagles’ lead to one.
But in the last two minutes of the first quarter, the Eagles scored twice to gain a dominant lead. Mckenna Davis found LoPinto cutting from behind the net, and then Andrea Reynolds on a man-up play to bring the score to 5–2 to end the 1st quarter.
Davis and LoPinto’s chemistry was on display early—they combined for three goals in the first half.
“In the fall I think we noticed we love to play behind [the net] and I think we clicked super well,” LoPinto said. “And I think we read each other really well so, you know, I’m always knowing where she is, she’s knowing where I’m at, so it’s been awesome.”
Davis followed up her strong first quarter just three minutes into the second. She overpowered her defender and pushed her way into the middle of the arch to fire a shot past Tobin, allowing the Eagles to take a 6–2 lead.
The trio of Ryan Smith, Shea Baker, and Weeks in the faceoffs proved vital for the Eagles. Multiple times in the second quarter, Ryan Smith shot the ball up in the air on the draw for either Baker or Weeks to collect, leading to goals from Baker at 11:53 and Lopinto at 5:59 to balloon the lead to 10–2.
“I am really happy with, you know, the amount of depth that we were able to show,” Coach Walker-Weinstein said. “People coming off the sideline and going in and doing really good things, so I’m really proud of that.”
The Minutewomen made a push with two goals in 40 seconds at the end of first half, but the Eagles answered right back when Kayla Martello and Reynolds both scored in the final 25 seconds to head into halftime leading 13–4.
At the start of the third quarter, Belle Smith proved why she was named USA Lacrosse Magazine Preseason Midfielder of the Year.
Smith caused a UMass turnover, and on the next possession, she received the ball in front of the net and weaved between three Minutewomen defenders before finding a cutting Martello, who slotted the ball past Tobin to take the Eagles lead up to 14–4.
BC’s stellar offensive play was matched with an equal tenacity on defense. The Eagles registered nine caused turnovers, 15 of 17 clears, and 17 ground balls.
Practicing gametime situations is what made the defense so cohesive, according to senior Hunter Roman.
“I definitely think that our coaches have done a really good job trying to make our practices feel like game day,” Roman said. “And, I think as a unit we just executed today and we did a really good job so it was exciting.”
The Eagles full pressed on defense at the start of the fourth quarter despite being up 15–7.
“I was just really excited to see that they were able to, you know, dump all their energy into it late in the game and be able to do a high pressure ride,” Walker-Weinstein said. “I think it speaks to the fact that the girls stay focused and they’re conditioned.
The Eagles closed the game out with five more goals, including another from Belle Smith and LoPinto, as well as freshman Molly Driscoll, to take a 20–9 win over the Minutewomen.
“I think we played awesome,” said Lopinto. “I just had so much fun. I love my teammates, so it was awesome.”