Previewing 2018 Lacrosse: Final Four vs. Maryland

boston college lacrosse

For much of the regular season, Boston College lacrosse seemed destined to face Stony Brook in the National Championship. After all, the two teams had spent almost the duration of the year ranked first and second in the polls, and logic would suggest they’d inevitably meet with a trophy on the line. The NCAA committee disagreed, and the two ended up seeded fourth and fifth, meeting in the quarterfinals instead.

They promptly gave viewers the game of the tournament, with the Eagles using Dempsey Arsenault’s overtime game-winner to down the Seawolves, 12-11, and punch their ticket to the Final Four for the second year in a row. It was a terrific tuneup for BC, as the Eagles eliminated a Stony Brook team that many picked to win it all and now have plenty of momentum entering a championship game rematch with Maryland.

Who is BC playing?

Maryland

When is BC playing?

Friday, May 25, 7:30 p.m.

Where is BC playing?

Kenneth P. Lavalle Stadium, Stony Brook, N.Y.

How to Watch:

The game will be broadcasted on ESPN3 and available to stream on WatchESPN.

By the Numbers:

BC:

1) Despite playing two tough opponents in Princeton and Stony Brook, the Eagles were able to continue an impressive offensive streak—in all 22 games this season, even the lone loss to North Carolina, BC has come away with more shots. The average margin? 12.4 shots per game.

2) Given that Sam Apuzzo—the third-leading scorer in the nation—has drawn a whole lot of attention, especially in the postseason, Dempsey Arsenault has found herself in position to step up and help pace the offense. Often being faceguarded, Apuzzo has managed a combined two goals and four assists in the first two games of the tournament. Arsenault, on the other hand, has risen to the occasion, netting a hat trick against the Seawolves—including the game winner—and leading the team with nine points.

3) Apuzzo may not have scored in droves, but she has still played a pivotal role—she won seven draw controls against Stony Brook, helping BC to a dominating 20-6 edge in that department. Seawolves coach Joe Spallina singled that out in an interview with ILWomen postgame, saying, “Draw control wise, that was a major difference … if that’s 50-50, that’s a different ballgame.”

Maryland:

1) The Terrapins are headed to their 10th Final Four in a row, so it’s easy to say that head coach Cathy Reese has a system in place that breeds winners. Additionally, Maryland has only missed out on the title game twice in that span, so the Eagles are up against a seemingly immovable force.

2) Since the 2015 postseason, the Terrapins have lost just twice in 71 games, with both losses coming to North Carolina. It’s just jaw-dropping consistency from Maryland, which has won behind a potent attack. The offense—which is tied for fourth in the country this year—has ranked first, first, and seventh over the three years prior.

3) Offenses always get attention, but Reese has the comfort of a seasoned goaltender in net when games get close. Megan Taylor is the reigning IWLCA Goalie of the Year and earned almost 10 other honors for her play, en route to the 2017 title. She’s picked up where she left off, posting a goals against average that’s nearly identical to her mark from a year ago. In the Elite Eight win over Navy, she piled up 13 saves, including four crucial ones from point-blank range.

Last Meeting:

A year ago, the two teams clashed in Gillette Stadium, vying for the National Championship. The story going into it was one of David vs. Goliath, with the Eagles entering the tournament ranked just 14th amid an inspired run, while Maryland had waltzed through the bracket. BC hung tough—the game was knotted up at five at the half—but the Terrapins used a 5-0 run to start the second period and fought off a rally to escape, 16-13. It was an impressive performance from the Eagles, who had lost, 21-13, to the same Maryland team earlier in the year. One thing to note about last year’s matchup—when compared to this year’s—is that it featured a standout performance from Kenzie Kent, who had five goals and five assists, but isn’t with the team this year after opting to redshirt following her senior hockey season.

Outlook:

It’s not the National Championship game, but just like last week’s win over Stony Brook, expect BC head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein’s team to approach this matchup like it is. The Eagles have been a program on the rise for several years now, but have come up short each time because of blue-blood programs like Maryland. The Terrapins were practically a lock for the Final Four once the season got underway—that’s what a dynasty does—but the Eagles quickly emerged as a dangerous team to beat. Losing to UNC in the ACC final was a setback, but BC responded with a six-goal win over Princeton and then a takedown of a team many were ready to see go all the way. A potential rematch with the Tar Heels awaits in the championship, so if the Eagles can pull off the upset of an impressive Maryland team, they have a chance to cement themselves as not just a program on the rise, but one that is here to stay.

Featured image by Bradley Smart / Heights Editor

Bradley Smart
About Bradley Smart 179 Articles
Bradley is the associate sports editor for The Heights. He believes that America does truly run on Dunkin, March is the best month, baseball teams should always wear stirrups, and being down 3-1, in anything, is never cause for concern. You can follow him on Twitter @bradleysmart15.