Photo courtesy of Martin Jarmond / Twitter

National Championship Loss Doesn't Dampen 2019 Success for BC Lacrosse

For the third consecutive year, the Boston College Women’s Lacrosse team came up one game short. This Sunday, the Eagles fell to Maryland 12-10 in the NCAA Championship, marking the third time that they have fallen in the title game.

Despite finishing the season with a loss, it was a remarkable year for the program. In fact, throughout the last three years, BC Lacrosse has been, for the most part, dominant. They finish the 2019 season with a record of 22-2, with their only losses coming in the NCAA Championship and the ACC title game. Stars Sam Apuzzo, Dempsey Arsenault, and Kenzie Kent were drafted with the top three picks in the Women’s Professional Lacrosse league. This year’s graduating class has left a legendary legacy on the heights.

From the beginning of the year, it seemed like the Eagles were poised to finally break through to capture their first national championship. They spent much of this season at the top of the national rankings and managed to stay undefeated through the entire regular season, despite playing in the star-studded ACC. They rolled through their conference schedule, holding off every opponent who dared take them on.

Despite a loss in the ACC Tournament, BC still had their sights set on a National Championship coming into the NCAA Tournament. After handling Colorado and Princeton, the stage was set for a Final Four matchup with North Carolina - the only team to have beaten the Eagles all season. The Eagles had beaten the Tar Heels when they met in the regular season, so the NCAA semifinal was poised to be a tightly-contested matchup.

It did not disappoint.

A back-and-forth game came to a head in double overtime by none other than Sam Apuzzo, the Eagles’ leading goal scorer and one of the top players in the nation. Apuzzo broke the 14-14 tie by ripping a shot past the North Carolina goalie, ending the sudden death overtime period and propelling the Eagles to the title game.

The semifinal was a rollercoaster, keeping fans on the edge of their seats in an instant classic of a game. The Eagles marched on with momentum into a title game matchup with the mighty Maryland Terrapins, a program with 13 NCAA Championships under its belt, along with the top overall seed in this year’s tournament.

The matchup of the two best teams in the country lived up to the hype. Maryland jumped out to an early lead, taking a 8-4 advantage to the locker room for halftime. The stout Terrapin defense kept the Eagles off the board for much of the second half as well. But BC wasn’t about to go down without a fight. Kenzie Kent scored her fifth goal of the game to cut the Maryland lead to two with just under four minutes remaining.

However, Maryland absorbed any subsequent attempts at a comeback, clinging to their lead until the final horn. The Terrapins captured their 14th national championship with the victory.

Though they couldn’t capture the national title, this year’s graduating class has made BC Women’s Lacrosse into a perennial national championship contender. In 2016, the Eagles finished 10-9. The following year, they went 17-7, making it to the national championship, where they fell to Maryland. And last year, the Eagles went 22-2, making it to the national championship once again.

It has been a remarkable ascension, and in just a few years, BC has cemented its place as one of the top lacrosse programs in the country. And that is all thanks to the players who have helped to propel the program to the next level.

The Eagles will graduate a lot of talent this year. Leading scorers Apuzzo, Kent, and Arsenault will all be moving on to the professional ranks. But don’t think for a second that underclassmen won’t step up to keep the program at such a high level. The team is stocked with talent, and will look to have another successful season in 2020.

Though the national championship loss is a disappointing end to the season, fans should celebrate all that the Eagles were able to accomplish this year. Playing every game with a target on their back as the top-ranked team in the preseason national rankings, BC handled the pressure as well as any team could have. Finishing the regular season undefeated and winning more than 20 games two years in a row is no small feat.

Though they came up two goals short of a national championship, 2019 Boston College lacrosse team will go down as one of the best teams in program history, and as one of the most dominant teams across all of Boston College athletics.  

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