Stony Brook and Boston College lacrosse were ranked No. 1 and 2 in the country for the majority of the season—nine-consecutive weeks to be exact. At one point, they were the only teams in the NCAA with both an offense and defense ranked inside the top 10. Even more impressive, by the end of the regular season, they were the last two remaining undefeated teams in the nation. Most predicted that they’d meet in the NCAA Tournament—that is, in the Final Four or National Championship, not the quarterfinals.
The Eagles’ loss to North Carolina in the ACC Championship came with a cost. Instead of earning a top-two seed, BC (20-1, 7-0 Atlantic Coast) was slotted as the fourth-best team in the country. Stony Brook (20-0, 7-0 American East), on the other hand, was hit with the five seed, despite winning the American East with a perfect record. The NCAA puts a lot of stock in RPI, namely strength of schedule, when selecting the teams and seeds for the annual tournament. Because Stony Brook plays in the American East—a league hardly comparable to that of the ACC or Big Ten—the Seawolves fall to sixth in the nation-wide RPI rankings. The fact that Albany is the only other team in the conference to crack the top 50 just goes to show the discrepancy in leagues throughout the top of the field.
On Saturday afternoon, BC will have the chance to play spoiler at home, hand Stony Brook its first loss of the season and eliminate the Seawolves from national title contention. Of course, Stony Brook could very well cut the Eagles’ redemption tour short. Whatever happens, the heavyweight matchup won’t disappoint. It just comes a bit earlier than everyone expected.
Who is BC playing?
When is BC playing?
Saturday, May 19, 1 p.m.
Where is BC playing?
Newton Campus Lacrosse Field
How to Watch:
The game will be broadcasted on ESPN3 and available on WatchESPN.
By the Numbers:
1) Last week’s matchup against Princeton marked the third contest this season that Sam Apuzzo—the Eagles’ leading scorer—has been held to just one goal. All year, the junior has been scoring approximately 3.81 times per game.
2) The Eagles have racked up 15 or more goals on 13 separate occasions this season. When matching or eclipsing that scoring total, their average margin of victory is 9.31 goals—6.56 ticks higher than when BC fails to reach the mark in the first place.
3) Although Apuzzo and Dempsey Arsenault combined for just two goals this past weekend, Kaileen Hart and Tess Chandler—the Eagles’ third- and fourth-leading scorers—tallied five apiece to lead BC past Princeton in the second round of tournament play.
1) The Seawolves have surpassed the 20-goal mark nine times this season and, on average, outscore opponents by 11.4 goals per game. Last time out, Stony Brook slaughtered Penn, 18-5.
2) Stony Brook has the second-ranked offense in the country, and for good reason. The Seawolves boast the top-two leading scorers in the nation—Kylie Ohlmiller and Courtney Murphy—as well as another inside the top 10 in Taryn Ohlmiller.
3) Like Apuzzo, Kylie Ohlmiller is one of five finalists for this year’s Tewaaraton Award. She has compiled a whopping 152 points this year, scoring 86 goals and 66 assists. The senior is as good as it gets on the attack.
Just two years ago, Stony Brook made the trek to Newton for the opening round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament. Caroline Margolis and Kate Weeks kicked things off with a pair of goals to give BC a 2-0 lead. Soon enough, though, the game turned into a back-and-forth affair. Following a Seawolves scoring spurt, Sarah Mannelly knotted it all up at eight goals apiece, midway through the second half. That’s when things went downhill for head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein and Co. Stony Brook rattled off three-straight goals to take a three-score lead with a bit more than five minutes remaining. Margolis ripped twine one more time before the horn sounded, but that was all the Eagles could muster, ultimately losing, 11-9. With the defeat, BC moved to 2-5 in the tournament, all-time, and 10-9 on the season—still, to this day, Walker-Weinstein’s worst record with the program in her six-year tenure.
These two teams are remarkably similar. They both have a star attacker, depth, and a reputable defense that can curtail any opponent in the country. This one can go either way, but will likely depend on whether the teams’ supporting casts can rise to the occasion. Apuzzo isn’t invincible and, of late, has disappeared in games from time to time. If on their game, the Eagles can silence Ohlmiller, just like they limited Princeton’s Kyla Sears this past weekend. It’s important to remember that high-profile postseason games are often decided by the relatively unknown.
Featured Image by Andy Backstrom / Heights Editor