Last season, Boston College lacrosse’s Dempsey Arsenault recorded 15 goals and eight assists the entire season, finishing seventh on the team in points. After losing Kate Weeks (76 goals) to graduation and still waiting on the arrival of Kenzie Kent (39 goals) from women’s hockey, Arsenault realized she needed to fill the void.
And fill it she has.
The junior, fresh off a career-high five goal performance against Boston University, exploded for four more goals, already running her season total to 12 in Wednesday afternoon’s 16-9 win over No. 19 Massachusetts.
“She’s learning that the team wants her to be scoring five, six goals a game,” BC head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein said after the BU game. “I think it was a little uncomfortable for her at first, but now she realizes she’s capable of that and more. She’s getting more and more comfortable with her role.”
Backed up by a hat trick from Jordan Lappin—a freshman who had yet to score on the season—the No. 3 Eagles (4-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) continued to showcase their potent offense, having cleared 13 goals in all four games this season.
BC’s Sam Apuzzo was also pivotal down the stretch, scoring three second-half goals and piling up four on the day. Kaileen Hart and Tara Schurr each logged a goal and multiple assists, furthering the Eagles’ position among the top contenders in the country.
That’s not to say the win wasn’t without its hiccups.
The Minutewomen (1-1) took the game’s first lead on a Hannah Burnett free-position shot, but it’d be the only one they’d have all day. The Eagles answered with three-consecutive goals, the first coming from Arsenault. The junior spun around inside and whipped it past UMass goaltender Lauren Hiller, who was tested early and often.
Emma Schurr capitalized on a turnover, then Cara Urbank scooped up the ball and sliced in to score after her own pass was denied. The two teams swapped goals in the ensuing minutes, but a 4-0 run from the Eagles would follow. Arsenault scored twice in the span, stretching the BC lead to a comfortable 8-3.
The Eagles ultimately closed the first half on a 7-1 run, building a comfortable six-goal lead at the break. Yet it wasn’t long before they saw their lead dwindle to just three after an inspired UMass team came out firing in the second. BC’s offense stagnated, and it was outshot and out-hustled to several ground balls.
Enter Lappin. After a free-position attempt from Hart was denied, the freshman midfielder scooped up the rebound and tucked it away to complete the hat trick. UMass’s next free-position scoring opportunity ended in a shot clock violation, and the Eagles stood tall on defense.
After struggling offensively in the early going of the second, BC showed good resilience as it found answers for the tough UMass defense. Once Lappin finished off her hat trick, Apuzzo scored three of the game’s next four goals to extend the lead comfortably again.
The Eagles were just as sound on the other end of the field, down the stretch—after being outshot early in the second, they finished the game on a 5-1 run. The nine goals scored against them was the third time in four tries that they’d held their opponent to single digits, an impressive mark this time of year.
“Jen Kent, the defensive coordinator, is like a total brain back there on defense,” Walker-Weinstein said. “She’s got these guys firing. She always does a really good job at putting people in the right spots.”
Still, there was no stopping Minutewomen attacker Holly Turner, who turned in a prolific effort, breaking through for a game-best five goals. UMass was hurt by a pair of would-be goals that were called off for infractions, but the final margin proved that even those scoring plays wouldn’t have tipped the scale.
With two wins over preseason top-20 teams in the first month of the season, BC has impressed many. It’s climbed from its preseason No. 6 mark to No. 3, and should only continue to climb. It entered Wednesday’s game ranked in the top-10 in both scoring offense and defense, a formidable combination for any opponent.