There’s no denying that Boston College lacrosse had to sweat out the final three games of its regular season. The Eagles defeated Dartmouth, Virginia Tech, and Syracuse by an average of just two goals—5.9 shy of the margin of victory they posted over the course of the first two months of the season.
But on Thursday afternoon, in the first round of the ACC Tournament, BC reverted back to its normal self, racking up 14 goals in the first half alone—more than head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein’s team recorded in any of the three aforementioned games—essentially putting the quarterfinal matchup to bed by intermission. Kaileen Hart, Tess Chandler, and Dempsey Arsenault logged hat tricks in the opening 30 minutes, and, when all was said and done, eight different Eagles etched their name in the box score of what was a resounding 19-6 victory—No. 2 BC’s (18-0, 7-0 Atlantic Coast) largest win since Feb. 2.
All it took was a free-position shot to open the floodgates. About a minute and 45 seconds into the game, Hart was fouled by Louisville’s (6-11, 0-8) Leigh Gatons. Seconds later, she fired a shot past Cardinals goaltender Lexie Ball, scoring the first goal of not only the conference tournament, but also the Eagles’ 8-1 run. Pushing the ball in transition, Sam Apuzzo won draw control after draw control, setting up her team for a dominant 10-minute stretch—one in which BC tallied 11 of the game’s first 13 shots and established a seven-goal lead.
Thirteen seconds after Hart drew first blood, Taylor Walker logged her 16th goal of the season. Fast forward 52 more seconds, and Arsenault was on the board. Just like that, the Eagles were already up three, and they weren’t stopping anytime soon. With the exception of an Emily Howell goal, Louisville had no means of countering BC’s scoring spurt.
Approaching the 23-minute mark, Hart, having scored twice, handed the keys over to Tess Chandler. For the second-straight game, the redshirt senior recorded a trio of goals—only this time she did so in just 181 seconds. Like she has all season, Chandler snuck inside the 18 and posted up right outside the crease, preparing for an array of quick, close-range shots. Her hat trick, along with Apuzzo’s first goal of the game—a scoring play that marked the junior’s 100th point of the year—capped the monstrous run.
Once again, Howell tried to stop the bleeding. Streaking to the right, the senior defender left three Eagles in the dust before whipping a shot past BC goalie Lauren Daly. Unlike Howell’s first goal, this one somewhat revived the Cardinals. Louisville—which scored on four of its first six shots of the game—tacked on two more goals in the next three and half minutes. Unfortunately for head coach Scott Teeter and Co., the Cardinals had no such luck on the other side of the field.
After matching Louisville’s mini scoring spree, BC continued to widen the gap. Following her third goal of the contest, Hart hauled in a pass, a few feet adjacent to the crease. Without a proper angle to score, the senior relayed the ball to Arsenault outside the 18. The shifty junior caught the pass and sprinted toward Ball, winding up for her 50th goal of the season.
Attempting to slow down the Eagles’ transition offense, Ball strolled out of the crease— little did she know that the strategy would completely backfire. Soon enough, the sophomore committed a costly turnover and made a bee-line back to the net, only to watch BC string together a series of passes, ultimately culminating in a wide-open Emma Schurr goal.
Madison Hoover made the most of a rare Apuzzo turnover, cutting the Cardinals’ deficit to seven with nine and a half minutes remaining in the high-scoring first period. A media timeout disrupted any sort of momentum that Louisville was building—out of the break, BC won the draw, and Sheila Rietano scored.
Surprisingly, both teams were relatively quiet the rest of the frame. There was no doubt that the Eagles were still in command, though, especially after Arsenault got her defender to bite on a shot fake and ripped twine in the period’s waning seconds to send BC into the half with a 14-5 advantage.
The Eagles went right back to work in the second frame. Hart, who scored a team-leading four goals, beat Ball all by herself, executing an unassisted scoring play. It wasn’t long before BC, namely Rietano, found the back of the net again—the freshman whipped a bounce shot into the top-left corner of the cage. Further extending the double-digit lead, Cara Urbank cashed in a rebound, just outside the crease, for her first goal of the game.
After Louisville turned a Walker turnover into its sixth and final scoring play of the day, the sophomore tacked on another goal to restore the Eagles’ 12-score advantage. Fittingly, Apuzzo rounded out the day with a hat trick-clinching goal, midway through the period.
With a semifinal matchup and an assortment of other postseason games likely on the horizon, Walker-Weinstein took her foot off the gas and played a handful of her reserves, including freshman goaltender Abbey Ngai, in the final stages of the blowout. Ngai shined, saving all three of the shots she faced. BC milked the clock, closing the game with 19 goals—interestingly enough, just as many as it logged against the Cardinals in the teams’ March 17 meeting.
Even after last week’s nail-biter, and the all of the corresponding accolades, there was no such hangover on Tuesday afternoon. In fact, there was quite the opposite. Scoring at will, the Eagles looked more dominant than they have in all of ACC play. Before Walker-Weinstein started pulling the starters, BC was on pace to record approximately 25 goals. Just like last year, the Eagles could very well be peaking at the right time.
Featured Image by Bradley Smart / Heights Editor