The day of reckoning had finally come, as Boston College lacrosse looked to keep its season alive. After a season filled with great wins and tough losses, the Eagles turned their attention to the NCAA Tournament and their first-round opponent: Stony Brook University. Because of an overbooking of hotels in the Syracuse area, the Eagles were blessed to host the first round in their own backyard. In what they knew might be the BC seniors’ last game, head coach Acacia Walker and her squad came out with passion and energy as they looked to defend their home turf.
But winning in the NCAA tournament is no small order, as the Seawolves entered Newton having won their last 14 straight games, dating back to mid-March. The matchup featured methodical offenses, physical play, and stern defenses as the two teams took their best shots at one another. The tension leading up to the game complemented the weather that surrounded the field well, as the humid and overcast conditions added the threat of rain. Ultimately, though, the Eagles (10-9) fell to the Seawolves (17-3) by a final score of 11-9, ending the careers of one of the winningest classes in BC lacrosse history.
The game got off to a quick start, with BC firing on all cylinders early and drawing first blood on a Caroline Margolis goal from right in front of Stony Brook’s goal, courtesy of a great pass from Sarah Mannelly that found its way through uplifted Stony Brook sticks. The Eagles cruised early on, and their offense looked surgical as the attackmen passed in circles around the goal like sharks. But after Kate Weeks scored on a long transition run, the Seawolves stepped up. The Stony Brook defense looked great throughout, and the physical defense that they played didn’t let the Eagles settle into a rhythm.
Stony Brook broke into the scoring column with a low shot by Dorrien Van Dyke that beat BC goalie Zoe Ochoa. The Seawolves packed on two more power play goals to snag the momentum away from the Eagles on shots by Courtney Murphy and Alyssa Guido. But BC came roaring back as they would all day, reclaiming the lead after Dempsey Arsenault scored on a free position shot, and Weeks scored 11 seconds later on a smooth breakaway to give the Eagles a 4-3 lead. But three Stony Brook goals continued the momentum swings and brought the game into halftime at a score of 6-4.
The second half featured more of the same. Stony Brook struck first 45 seconds in, growing its lead to the biggest that it would be all day at three. But some great offensive execution produced three consecutive goals for BC courtesy of Weeks, Mannelly, and Tess Chandler. Back in the mix, the energy was palpable as the home crowd cheered and chanted, rooting on their Eagles.
A quick and methodical Stony Brook offense produced a Kasey Mitchell goal, taking the wind out of BC’s sails. But with around 15 minutes left in the game, rain began to fall, alluding to the luck that the Eagles would have for the rest of the game. The grinding back and forth continued, though, with Mannelly scoring again for the Eagles to tie the game again. Stony Brook struck back, posting three consecutive goals over a 9-minute span to build their lead and bleed the clock. Desperate for goals, BC threw everything in its offensive arsenal at a steadfast Stony Brook defense. The Eagles mustered one more Margolis goal, but nothing more, as tough calls from the officials took the ball away from the Eagles when they needed it most. With a two-goal lead, the Seawolves bled the clock out until the game’s end.
Walker acknowledged the difficult matchup and commended Stony Brook’s efforts, but still couldn’t hold back her disappointment.
“They were exactly who we thought they would be, awesome lacrosse players that will fight to the end,” Walker said. “And my kids did, too, but just came up short.”
Featured Image by Lizzy Barrett / Heights Staff