Just one goal separated Boston College lacrosse and No. 15 Notre Dame in either half of the teams’ season opener on Saturday. Although the Eagles entered the latter portion of the second frame with a five-goal lead, they soon had their hands full with a full-force Irish comeback—one that consisted of Notre Dame outscoring BC, 4-1, in the final 15 minutes and 11 seconds of play.
Fortunately for BC, it won’t have to sweat out another ACC victory until mid-March. The Eagles began their non-conference slate on Tuesday afternoon, hosting Holy Cross. Against a Crusaders team that hasn’t had a winning season in the past six tries, BC’s second victory of the year was never in doubt—in fact, after Holy Cross tied the game up at one, five minutes in, the Eagles, led by Sam Apuzzo’s six goals, strung together a 17-0 run, stretching into the back half of play. Thanks to BC’s defense, head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein’s team walked off its home turf with a 20-2 victory, its most decisive win in three years.
Eleven different Eagles (2-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) found the back of the net on Tuesday, but the scoring spree all started with Apuzzo. A bit more than a minute after the opening faceoff, Crusaders (0-1) midfielder Mairead Anderson was called for a foul, awarding No. 6 BC with a free-position attempt. Apuzzo cashed in on the opportunity, notching her first goal of the game. It wasn’t long before Holy Cross responded. Following a Cara Urbank turnover, the Crusaders pushed the ball up the field. Molly Pfaff tracked down Baker Earl’s missed shot and, soon after, Keely Connors beat Eagles goalie Lauren Daly for the equalizer.
That’s when things got ugly, for Holy Cross at least. Over the course of less than two minutes, the Crusaders turned the ball over twice, and Apuzzo tacked on two more goals, logging a hat trick, prior to the 20-minute mark. Kaileen Hart, who assisted on the second of Apuzzo’s three goals, took a shot of her own on the Eagles’ next free-position attempt. Recording her fifth goal of the year, the senior whipped a shot past Holy Cross netminder Julia Maloney.
Emma Schurr extended BC’s lead to 5-1, before the Eagles hit pause on their blowout in the making. In what felt like an eternity, BC failed to score again for the next three minutes of play. During that time, the Crusaders did anything but close the gap. Time and time again, they coughed the ball up, not mention that they were whistled for a number of fouls. The Eagles’ scoring opportunities continued to stack, and eventually, they resumed their scoring barrage.
Thanks to a Jessi Button foul, Apuzzo got her second free-position goal of the game. Then, just 20 seconds later, BC’s Christina Walsh won a draw control, indirectly setting up Ally Mayle for her second scoring play of the season. Urbank upped the Eagles’ goal total to eight right, midway through the half. But BC really pulled away in the final eight minutes of the period.
Going back and forth, Tara Schurr and Apuzzo scored the Eagles’ next five goals—the last of which Emma, Tara’s twin sister, was credited with the assist—forcing Holy Cross to turn to Sophie Ochs in net. Having racked up six goals in the half, Apuzzo was in a giving mood toward the end of the frame. After dialing up a pass for Tara’s second goal of the day, the junior created another scoring chance, this time for Elizabeth Miller, with under 10 seconds to go in the half. Just before the horn sounded, the defenseman sent a shot past Ochs to give BC a 14-1 lead heading into the break.
The Crusaders cut down on turnovers and limited the Eagles to just 12 shots in the second half, a moral victory considering that BC got off 22 in the opening 20 minutes of action. Still, the Eagles were in complete control. BC piled on six more goals, all while watching some of its youngest talents make their collegiate debuts. Freshmen Maggie Casey, Haley Cogliano, Cailee Perettine, and Abbey Ngai (goaltender) all received their fair share of minutes with the game already out of hand.
Casey and Perettine even got on the board, tallying a combined three goals. But Walsh was the one that got things going, five and a half minutes into the frame, with a free-position shot—one that was good for her first goal of the season. Tara Schurr went on to score a career-best fourth goal a few minutes later. Then, sandwiched in between Casey and Perettine’s scoring plays, Tess Chandler joined in on the fun, converting a Hart pass into her second goal of the year.
All Holy Cross could do was muster one goal, with about 10 and a half minutes left in the game. Catherine Guanci ripped twine, marking the first shot to slip by Ngai in her young career.
A team that’s renowned for its offensive prowess, BC’s domination on the other side of the field comes as somewhat of a surprise. The Eagles haven’t put on that kind of performance since they held Niagara to just one goal, back on Feb. 22, 2009. Nevertheless, the question remains if they can shut down teams of a higher pedigree on a consistent basis—a skill that could very well prove to be the difference between another deep postseason run and the program’s first national title.
Featured Image by Amelie Trieu / Heights Senior Staff