As Maryland rushed the field in celebration, a loud chant from a neon green-clad crowd in the stands of Gillette Stadium vibrated from the television. They were shouting, “Let’s go Eagles.”
BC women's lacrosse lost in its first ever National Championship appearance to No. 1 Maryland, 16-13, but the Eagles didn’t go down without a fight.
“I’m really proud of my team. I think to take down Maryland is like slaying a dragon, and I think my girls fought until the very end, which is all I can ask of them,” head coach Acacia Walker stated.
When Maryland opened the second half on a 5-0 run to go up 10-5, Kenzie Kent put the Eagles on her back. Kent either scored (3) or assisted (2) on the next five BC goals to bring the margin down to one at 11-10 with 14:00 remaining.
But as soon as Kent brought it to 13-11 at five goals and five assists with 9:31 remaining, the Terps took over. The undefeated Maryland (23-0), scored three straight to extend its lead to 16-11 with under five minutes left.
Sam Apuzzo netted her 79th and 80th goals—a record that leads all NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse players—to bring it to 16-13, but the Terrapins held Boston College (17-7) at bay for the final minute and a half to win its third national championship in four years.
The game was a story of the two-sport star in Kent, who was ultimately voted Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament. The junior is accustomed to the pressure, as she’s also led women’s ice hockey to three straight Final Four appearances in her time at BC. Her familiarity showed, as even under double-teams Kent executed, tying the National Championship game record with 10 points.
Like the slow start for the Eags in the second half, the first mirrored much of the same. BC started tentatively, as Maryland sparked a 2-0 lead within the first two minutes. The Terrapins soon pulled ahead for their largest lead so far at 5-2 with three straight goals from Caroline Steele with 16:11 remaining in the first.
But, as head coach Acacia Walker—who played for Maryland—reminded her players all season, they remained humble and hungry. The Eagles retaliated late in the second half with their own three consecutive goals to tie it up at 5-5 heading into halftime.
The slow starts proved fatal for the Eagles, however, as a repeat of the beginning of the first again in the second half left the Eagles chasing a margin they would never quite recover from.
Despite the loss, this season marks many firsts for the Eagles. Aside from individual player records for Apuzzo and Kent, this is the first time the program reached the National Championship, while also being the first unseeded team to make it to the final since 2003.
And now, the program has gained the experience of playing through the atmosphere of its sport at the highest level.
“Really, I’m really proud of our group….they changed everything for BC. They changed everything,” said Walker of her team.