As the last of exams in the rear-view mirror to the tune of a week or two, so, too, are spring sports for Boston College.
While many words come to mind, the most suitable word to characterize this year's spring sports teams is growth. Women’s lacrosse, men's baseball and women’s softball all exhibited signs of maturation.
The women’s lacrosse team jumped from a 15-6 overall record and a 3-4 conference record from last season to a 15-4 overall record and a 5-2 conference record this season.
The team also fought its way to the second round of the NCAA tournament and ultimately lost to Loyola (Md.) by a score of 19-12. Last year, the team clawed its way to the third round of the NCAA tournament, defeating both Bryant and Loyola (Md.), and losing to Syracuse in the third round by a score of 9-11.
Admittedly, the team did not make it as far as it did last year; however, one could not help but feel that this group had something special.
For one, the team only lost twice in the regular season, once to Virginia and once to Duke. The squad was also able to down powerhouses like Johns Hopkins, Syracuse and UNC.
The crew also had especially phenomenal players. Junior Sarah Mannelly was one of the five finalists for the 2015 Tewaaraton Award, the most prestigious award in college lacrosse. Four players—junior Sarah Mannelly, senior Mikaela Rix, senior Covie Stanwick and senior Caroline Margolis—earned IWLCA All-Region Honors. And three players—junior Sarah Mannelly (first team), senior Covie Stanwick (first team) and senior Mikaela Rix (second team)—were honored as IWLCA First Team All-Americans.
Speaking more statistically, the team, on average, netted 14.47 goals per game, while its opponents netted a mere 10.05—almost exactly 30 percent fewer goals. And with more total goals (275 compared to 191), more ground balls (256 compared to 243) and a higher clear percentage, (.846 compared to .808), the women simply outplayed their opponents.
As for the men’s baseball team, the evidence of growth is unassailable. Improving from an overall record of 22-33 and a conference record of 10-20 last season to an overall record of 27-27 and a conference record of 10-18 this season, it’s apparent that this season’s team was simply better.
Four players this year—junior Chris Shaw (first team), senior Blake Butera (third team), senior Eric Stone (third team) and sophomore Mike King (third team)—were named to the NEIBA All-New England Team.
The group also managed to pull off wins against formidable opponents like Duke, Wake Forest, Clemson and Notre Dame throughout the season.
In the team’s last game of the season, junior Nick Colucci managed a walk-off hit in the 10th inning to secure a win. Though the Eagles finished at .500 with an overall record of 27-27 and lagged in comparison to ACC counterparts, Colucci’s walk off was a phenomenal way to end an exciting season. And if the team can improve even close to as much next year as it improved this year, men's baseball at Boston College could become a real threat.
Finally, the women’s softball team exhibited a more stable type of growth this season.
The team finished with an overall record of 27-24 and a conference record of 6-15— slightly less impressive numbers than last season’s overall record of 30-23 and conference record of 12-14. Strictly comparing this season to last season, the team regressed.
However, when compared to just about any other season in recent memory, this year was an absolute triumph.
For example, during the 2012-2013 season, the Lady Eagles finished with an overall record of 14-38 and a conference record of 2-19. And that season was most certainly not a fluke, as the team finished with a very similar record in 2011-2012 and finished with a 15-31 overall record in the 2010-2011 season.
This season, the team has posted an admirable (and above .500) record. The group managed to take down several competitive teams, like UCF, Louisville and Virginia Tech.
Additionally, junior Megan Cooley earned Second Team All-ACC honors, and freshman Allyson Frei was voted to the NCFA Mid-Atlantic All-Region Third Team.
Though this season was slightly less impressive on paper than last season, the Boston College women’s softball team should be proud. The ladies proved that they have the capacity to be a stable and competitive team in the coming years.
Follow @BCGavelSports on Twitter for the latest updates on Boston College athletics.