Once again 5-0 to start the regular season with a host of talent, a top-five scoring offense, and a a top-six ranking to its name, Boston College lacrosse is all over the Tewaaraton Award Watch List. For the second straight year, the same four Eagles—Sam Apuzzo, Kenzie Kent, Dempsey Arsenault, and Elizabeth Miller—have been named to the preliminary list of potential National Player of the Year candidates.
At the moment, the selection committee, made up of premier collegiate coaches, has narrowed down the field to 50 women, but Watch List additions, if necessary, will be released on March 21 and April 4. On April 25, the candidates will be halved, and on May 9 five finalists will be announced, leading up to the 19th annual Tewaaraton Award Ceremony to be held on May 30.
BC is one of just two teams in the country with four players on this year’s Watch List, the other being Florida. Only Maryland has more, with six potential candidates.
It’s no surprise that Apuzzo—last year’s Tewaaraton Award recipient—headlines the 2019 Watch List. After all, the senior currently leads the nation in scoring with 36 points, having already racked up 26 goals and 10 assists. Last year, the West Babylon, N.Y., native finished with 88 goals (third in the NCAA), 41 assists (19th), and 129 points (third)—26 more than any of her Eagles teammates. Last year’s ACC Attacker of the Year, she has improved in every sense of the word, rewriting her single-season program scoring record that she set in 2017.
Two spots below Apuzzo on the national scoring chart lies her partner in crime, Kent, who—after redshirting the 2018 campaign—is playing her first full season of collegiate lacrosse. Although the dual-sport phenom has only logged 34 career games, in large part due to elongated hockey season, she still has the fifth-most assists in program history. Kent’s 2017 numbers—77 points in an abbreviated 12-game campaign—gave fans just a glimpse of what she’s capable with a full year of work. In fact, if she had started all 23 contests and kept up that kind of output that season, she would have tallied approximately 148 points. It’s important to remember that Kent’s 37-point 2017 NCAA Tournament performance resulted in her becoming the first player from a National Championship losing team to earn NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors.
Arsenault is the third Eagle with 17 or more points on the season, ranking 45th in the nation in that department. But the senior midfielder is way more than just a scorer. Having played both defense and on the attack, Arsenault is as versatile as it gets. In 2018, she recorded 64 goals, 39 assists, 103 points—80 more than the season prior—59 ground balls, and 111 draw controls. Whenever Apuzzo was faceguarded and the Eagles needed a spark, Arsenault was there to create. Now with Kent—despite the potential stat decline—she is arguably more effective.
Last, but certainly not least, is the backbone of BC’s defense: Elizabeth Miller, the reigning ACC Defensive Player of the Year. With a top-three offense in the country and a number of playmakers up top, it’s easy for the defense to be pushed aside. That’s not to say that it should be, though. The Eagles are allowing just 9.6 goals per game, and Miller is a big reason why. Often disrupting opposing attackers, the senior has caused five turnovers and scooped up seven ground balls this year. Not to mention that she’s already won 25 draws, compared to all last season, when she won 46.
In 2018, Apuzzo became the first BC player to ever win the Tewaaraton Award. Come May 30, the Eagles could very well make it two in a row.
Featured Image by Jess Rivilis / Heights Staff