Sam Apuzzo, the nation’s leader in assists, didn’t record a single one in Boston College lacrosse’s home opener against Boston University. Instead, the sophomore midfielder exploded for six goals to lead the No. 17 Eagles (3-1, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) to a 13-11 victory, their eighth-consecutive win over the rival Terriers.
With her performance on Wednesday afternoon, Apuzzo moves into a tie with Notre Dame’s Courtney Fortunado for the most points in the country. Last year, the Under Armour All-American made her collegiate debut against BU (1-1) and recorded three goals and an assist in a 18-9 win. This year, BC needed every bit of Apuzzo’s effort to eke out its ninth-straight home-opener victory.
The sophomore midfielder opened up the scoring less than four minutes into the game, when she took a pass from Emma Schurr and fired it past Terrier goaltender Caroline Meegan. Interestingly, though, that would be the last assist of the day for the Eagles, which entered the game ranked third in the nation in assists per game.
BU immediately answered Apuzzo’s strike with two goals in less than a minute to take the lead against its crosstown rival. But BC was quick to respond: Attacker Tess Chandler scored the equalizer a minute later, followed by goals from Taylor Walker and Caroline Zaffino to give the Eagles a 4-2 advantage.
After the Terriers cut the deficit to just one, Apuzzo responded with her second goal of the afternoon. But BU would not go away quietly, as the back-and-forth affair continued for the entirety of the contest. Avery Donahoe delivered a momentum-swinging goal and, soon after, the Terrier tacked on another score, both of which were assisted by Elisabeth Jayne.
But the 5-5 tie would not last for long, as Apuzzo once again put BC on top with a screamer past Meegan between the pipes. Kaileen Hart tacked on another, her sixth goal of the season, to give the Eagles a two-goal cushion. BU, however, tightened up its defense for the final 10 minutes of the first period, holding BC scoreless for the remainder of the half. On offense, the Terriers did just enough to tie the game before halftime, as Taylor Hardison assisted on a pair of goals to knot the match at 7-7.
As was the case in the first period, the Eagles’ goals came in bunches during the second period. Mary Kate O’Neill struck first for BC, and Apuzzo followed suit a minute later. Donahoe kept BU within striking range with her third goal of the game just 14 seconds afterward. Apuzzo, though, was determined to put the team on her back, increasing the Eagles’ lead to 10-8 with her fifth goal of the contest.
Apuzzo’s final score came at just the right time for BC, as it broke a 12-minute scoreless drought and gave head coach Acacia Walker’s squad a commanding 12-9 lead which it would never relinquish. The Terriers would continue knocking on the door, though, scoring twice in the waning minutes before Taylor Walker iced the game with her third goal of the season. The 13-11 final marks the third non-conference game in a row in which the Eagles have won.
Senior attacker Kate Weeks was held scoreless on five shot attempts for the first time this season. Last year’s team-leader in goals, Weeks came into Wednesday’s matchup with 14 goals in three games, placing her only two behind the country’s leader.
Up next for BC is an ACC showdown with Virginia Tech on Saturday in Blacksburg, Va. Then, the Eagles take on five consecutive non-conference opponents, including No. 2 Maryland. Their schedule is far from a cakewalk before they enter the thick of conference play. Heading into their difficult conference slate, they can feel comfortable knowing that they have one of the country’s best young midfielders on their side in Apuzzo.
Featured Image by Lucius Xuan / Heights Staff