The Top-Five Plays From the BC-UNC Final Four Classic

What started as a blowout and ended in a double-overtime thriller, second-seeded Boston College lacrosse’s Final Four victory over third-seeded North Carolina was undoubtedly an all-time classic and easily one of the most exciting women’s lacrosse games to date. The national semifinal had it all—from goalie changes to momentum swings to big-time saves to potential game-winners to monumental celebrations. Twenty-four hours removed from Friday’s back-and-forth contest, here’s a look back at the top-five plays from the Final Four matchup.

1. Apuzzo Ices the Game in Double Overtime

As far as BC’s concerned, there was no better player to send the Eagles to their third straight national title game than Sam Apuzzo. After all, the reigning Tewaaraton Award winner has recorded the most points (393), goals (280), and draw controls (452) in program history, not to mention that she’s tallied a whopping 21 career game-winners. The senior added her latest in the third overtime period—the first frame of double OT. Apuzzo had been wrapping around the cage, looking for a way to sneak a shot near post all throughout extra time. When it mattered most, however, she bent around the net, backpedaled, switched her stick to her left hand, and pushed forward before whipping a shot past UNC goalie Elise Hennessey.

2. A Game of Inches

Any sport can be chalked up as a game of inches, and that statement is perhaps no better exemplified by a sudden-death shot ricocheting off the post. With time winding down in the latter frame of the first overtime period, the shifty Gianna Bowe juked by Elizabeth Miller—an All-ACC First Team selection and Tewaaraton Watch List member—and angled toward the cage. Once she was about 10 feet away from the crease, the 5-foot senior midfielder leapt in the air and flung a shot near post. Almost in slow motion, the ball bounced off the frame and harmlessly hit the turf, sparing the Eagles’ National Championship aspirations. Bowe, on the other hand, walked off the field at the end of overtime knowing that she was inches away from glory.

3. Daly Saves BC’s Season

Miller picked up her second foul of the game with a minute and change remaining in the opening frame of the first overtime period. Her infraction allowed Jamie Ortega space and time to locate a cutting Olivia Ferrucci right after the break in play. Ferrucci cradled the ball as she approached the net, setting the stage for a 1-on-1 with BC goalkeeper Lauren Daly. The senior, who replaced a saveless Abbey Ngai midway through the first half, saddled up for her seventh stop of the evening—maybe the biggest of her career. Ferrucci had the opportunity to pick her spot, but settled for the heart of the cage. Instinctively, Daly backhanded her stick, swatting the ball away and allowing every Eagles fan to breathe, at least until the next Tar Heels possession.

4. Bowe Shakes and Bakes

Bowe may not have scored the game-winner, but she still made the highlight reel. Really only one BC player could contain the shifty midfielder, and that was Dempsey Arsenault. Every other Eagle struggled to keep up with Bowe, especially when she showcased her agility. Approaching the 16-minute mark in the first half, the senior used a nasty hesitation move to blow by BC defender Jillian Reilly. With a wide-open look on net, Bowe converted her momentum into a high-speed shot that whizzed past Ngai’s stick for UNC’s sixth goal of the game, chasing the freshman netminder in the process.

5. Spin Cycle

Cara Urbank jumpstarted a 3-0 Eagles stretch to end the first half that turned a five-goal game into a two-score halftime deficit. But the Tar Heels orchestrated a similarly significant three-goal run in the final 10 minutes of regulation that could have decided the game. Kara Klages was a huge part of the scoring surge. In fact, she tallied two of her three goals during the momentum-shifting run, the last of which handed UNC a 13-12 lead with only three minutes and 54 seconds remaining in regulation. Ferrucci curved around the BC cage, eying Klages, who strategically used Christina Walsh as a pick to free herself from Arsenault. Once Klages cut inside, she received the pass from Ferrucci, immediately spun to create space between her and Arsenault, and flung a shot past Daly. Unfortunately for UNC, its one-goal advantage was short-lived.

Featured Image Courtesy of John Quackenbos / BC Athletics

Andy Backstrom
About Andy Backstrom 404 Articles
Andy is the managing editor of The Heights. He is from the suburbs of Philly, but has been an Arizona Cardinals enthusiast since the first grade. Every so often, he'll replay Super Bowl XLIII on Madden to exact revenge on his father's beloved Steelers. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyHeights.