Lacrosse Advances Past Notre Dame to ACC Semifinals

Boston College lacrosse

While Boston College has its most visible rivalry with Boston University, the feelings of animosity are just as strong for Notre Dame. On Thursday afternoon, lacrosse got a taste of the hate in the opening round of the ACC Tournament against the Irish. After coming back from a first half deficit to clinch a winless than one week ago, the Eagles headed down to Richmond, Va., defeating Notre Dame, 17-14, to secure their spot in the ACC semifinals.

The first couple minutes were tough for the Eagles (12-5, 3-4 Atlantic Coast), with Samantha Lynch getting the first goal of the game for the Irish (11-6, 4-3) only two minutes into the first half. Less than three minutes later, Molly Cobb increased the lead after sending the ball flying past goaltender Zoe Ochoa. Kenzie Kent responded with her own free-position goal, but excitement was short lived. Lynch netted her second goal of the game to regain the two-point lead, and it seemed like BC couldn’t get past the Notre Dame defense. The Irish dominated the ball, and consistently kept it on BC’s side of the field. After another Irish goal, Kaileen Hart snatched a free position-goal to narrow the deficit to 4-2 heading into the first media timeout.

It seemed that the Eagles would have a chance to catch up when a foul by Heidi Annaheim gave them a player advantage, but Notre Dame wasn’t fazed as Grace Muller sprinted toward Ochoa and whipped the ball past her. The strong lead the Irish held wouldn’t last, however, as Dempsey Arsenault batted the ball out of the air and quickly sunk it into the nylon. Soon after, Kate Weeks, who the Irish made sure was seldom close enough to the goal to attempt a shot, picked up a ground ball. With BC taking possession, Kent made it a one-goal game as she nabbed her second score of the day.

After the second media timeout of the half, the Eagles took possession again. The powerhouse that is Kent couldn’t be stopped as she weaved her way past the defense to nail her second-consecutive goal to give her a hat trick. With the score tied for the first time since the beginning of the game, Notre Dame immediately called for a timeout. The break only fueled the Eagles, as Hart received a pass from Kent and took a powerful shot to get her second goal. With BC taking the lead for the first time in the game, the Irish defense started to crumble.

With just three seconds left before the horn, Weeks picked up a ground ball after an Irish turnover and immediately took a shot, capitalizing on one of her first opportunities to get past the defense. As the half ended, the Eagles held a steady lead, and paired with the performance of the offense, Ochoa saved a season-best eight shot attempts.

The Irish came out strong in the second half, barely letting the Eagles gain their footing before netting one just 30 seconds in. Their hopes of a comeback were quickly dampened after a foul by Hannah Proctor lead to a free-position goal by Sam Apuzzo. After staying quiet in the first she made her presence known as just one minute later she scored her second goal, forcing an Irish timeout.

Notre Dame controlled the draw after the timeout, and netted one to try to catch up to the Eagles. Apuzzo responded with a hat trick to secure her third goal in five minutes, followed quickly by Arsenault’s second of the game. The Eagles couldn’t be stopped, asWeeks passed the ball to Apuzzo following BC’s control of the draw. In just 13 seconds, Apuzzo followed Arsenault’s goal with her fourth of the game. After another Irish goal to try to narrow the lead, Kent took a shot that went wide. Hart came back with it, however, and sunk the ball into the back of the net with a hat trick of her own.

The team’s second matchup against the Irish was also the second time in the last three games they scored four hat tricks in a game. With the win, the Eagles will advance to play the University of North Carolina on Friday night at 5 p.m. They’ll try to replicate the lethal offense they displayed against Notre Dame, the program’s best attack in years. After a rough start at the beginning of the first half, six goals by Apuzzo, and five goals by both Weeks and Kent helped push the Eagles to a victory to advance to the ACC semifinal game for the first time in three years.

Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Staff