Hours before Boston College lacrosse’s NCAA Tournament opener against Canisius on Friday, head coach Acacia Walker’s group broke a program record. Five players—Sam Apuzzo, Kate Weeks, Kenzie Kent, Elizabeth Miller, and Dempsey Arsenault—earned Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association All-Northeast honors. Then, almost 28 minutes into play, one Eagle eclipsed another mark.
Hovering on the left side of the field, Kent surveyed the field before locating Apuzzo. The sophomore received the feed, and drew the attention of Canisius goaltender Rebecca VanLaeken. Apuzzo edged closer to the net and proceeded to hook a shot around VanLaeken.
Not only did the goal allow BC to take a three-goal lead into the second half, it also etched Apuzzo’s name into school history. With the goal—her 66th of the season—she dethroned Covie Stanwick, BC ’13, as the program’s most prolific single-season scorer.
Soon a three-goal lead turned into a double-digit massacre, as the Eagles lived up to their ACC pedigree in the second half. BC outscored the Golden Griffins 11-2 in the final 30 minutes of play, clinching a 21-9 victory and guaranteeing a rematch against Syracuse.
While the score may not show it, No. 13 BC (14-6, 3-4 Atlantic Coast) wasn’t always in the driver’s seat. In fact, it looked as if Canisius’ (15-5, 8-0 MAAC) scoring attack was equal, if not superior to the Eagles’ in the early goings.
Less than a minute into the game, Jourdan Roemer recorded an unassisted goal. And just like that, the Golden Griffins were on the board. Immediately after that, BC countered with two scoring plays of its own. But that’s when Canisius—the eighth highest scoring team in the nation—showcased its potency on the offensive side of the ball.
Over the course of the next 10 minutes, the Golden Griffins scored four-straight goals. Up three, Canisius was in command. BC, a team that had scored 16-plus goals in three of its previous games, looked stagnant.
But the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference representatives could only hold off the multi-faceted Eagles offense for so long. Once the clock hit the 16-mark in the first half, it was all BC.
Following the final goal of Canisius’ 4-0 run, Kayla O’Connor shoveled in a rebound goal. Moments later, Kaileen Hart, veering to the right side of the net, shot across her body to find the back of the net. Not too long after that, Apuzzo found O’Connor for a quick catch-and-release shot that tied the game all up, 5-5.
Without the help of its two 60-goal scorers, BC still managed to work its way back into the game in a matter of minutes. As soon as Apuzzo and Weeks got involved in the scoring effort, Canisius didn’t stand a chance.
After Hart chipped in another goal, Weeks and Apuzzo both got their names on the scoring sheet. Their two goals upped the Eagles’ lead to three. Tessa Chad eventually stopped the bleeding. Hart countered with a free-position goal—her fourth of the day—but Jen Reininger reduced the deficit back to two in no time.
Apuzzo’s record-breaking goal closed out the half, propelling the Eagles to a 10-7 lead and, ultimately, a second-half scoring spree.
Close to two minutes into the second half, Weeks logged her second goal of the game. This time, you could see that she—along with her teammates—was out to prove something. As soon as the ball hit the twine, the senior emphatically slammed her stick to the ground and took a few steps forward, as her teammates swarmed her.
Weeks’ mannerisms served as a representation of BC’s second-half performance: it was all business.
The Eagles went on to score 10 of the next 11 goals. Walker’s group was locked in on both sides of the field—no better exemplified than by a sequence of play at the 22-minute mark. As the Golden Griffins pushed the ball up the field, Miller forced a Brenna Shanahan turnover. Hart scooped up the ground ball and cleared it by delivering a pass to Kent. Without hesitation, Kent sprinted down the field. On a 3-on-2, she dumped the ball off to Apuzzo. VanLaeken charged Apuzzo, leaving the net open. As a result, Apuzzo found her partner in crime, Weeks, who scored the easy goal.
Weeks ended up scoring four goals in the half—enough to tie Stanwick’s single-season scoring record. And with Apuzzo’s final goal of the day, she became the first Eagle to score at least 100 points in a season.
Overall, BC’s ball movement was exquisite, and enabled the Eagles to control the pace of the game.
Additionally, Canisius’ offense was helpless. The Golden Griffins lost any rhythm that they had in the first half. The Eagles prevented Erica Evans—the nation’s leading scorer—from the finding the back of the net once. Whether it was forcing turnovers or collapsing on penetrating attackers, BC’s defense always seemed to step up.
Perhaps the biggest Eagles star in the second half was Lauren Daly. The backup goalie stood between the pipes for the latter portion of play, per usual. But she only allowed two goals—one of which came in garbage time.
The only Canisius attacker to have consistent success was Reininger, who scored four goals and capped off the team’s final scoring possession. But by that time, the game was far gone.
With the victory, BC advances to the second round of the tournament. The Eagles will play Syracuse—a team that they have fallen to in three-consecutive meetings, dating back to last season’s ACC Tournament. Just this February, the Orange defeated BC, 18-8.
It’s important to note the transformation that BC has undergone this season. Back in the winter, there were still questions concerning Apuzzo’s recovery from her ACL tear. Kent was playing hockey. And players like Hart and O’Connor had yet to showcase their true potential. It’s safe to say that Syracuse will be playing a different Eagles team on Sunday.
Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Staff