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Boston College Upsets #1 Maryland NCAA Women's Lacrosse Final Four

2018 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Final Four

Boston College (15) vs Maryland (13)

May 25, 2018

Digital Media Sports by Leigh Ernst Friestedt

Article by Ellie Majure

Photos by Margaret Hyatt

Quick Facts About the Game

This game marks the first time Boston College has ever beat Maryland in Women’s Lacrosse
This was the first game all season that Maryland entered halftime tied with its opponent
Maryland’s Megan Whittle finished her career with 298 goals as the program’s all-time leading goal scorer
With this game, Boston College set a program record with 373 single-season draw controls
Boston College had 4 separate players score 3 or more goals
Maryland had 3 separate players score 3 or more goals
In the second half, every draw control ultimately resulted in a goal for the team that won it

The First Half

#16 Kali Hartshorn (Maryland) vs #2 Sam Apuzzo (Boston College) - 2018 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Final Four

Maryland Starts Off Strong

Maryland came out strong on the draw circle and gained possession of the first three draws of the game. Each resulted in a goal for the Terps. First Caroline Steele (#11) dodged from the right elbow over a double screen and sent a bounce shot flying past the knees of Boston College goalie, Lauren Daly (#34). Then - on a man-up opportunity after a yellow card was awarded to BC - Kali Hartshorn (#16) caught a feed in the middle of the 8m and scored with a powerful, high sidearm shot. To close the run, Jen Giles (#5) drove hard down the left alley, sealed her defender off, and snapped a high shot into the back of the net over Daly's left shoulder.

Opening Draw 2018 NCCA Women's Lacrosse Final Four - #2 Sam Apuzzo vs Kalie Hartshorn

Caroline Steele

#11 Caroline Steele (Maryland) shoots lefty - 2018 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Final Four

The first goal of the game was the only goal the Junior attacker netted. She went 1 for 5 on the game. Steele's (usually) lethal shot seemed to be affected by a injury to her knee. The Maryland attacker struggled to pivot and drive off of her right foot, which hindered her lefty shot and dodges. Although she scored on her first drive, her shot seemed to lack the speed and torque that usually backs Steele's shots.

Boston College Draw Team

#2 Sam Apuzzo (Boston College) draws against #16 Kali Hartshorn (Maryland)

Boston College's draw team is coached by former Syracuse player, Kayla Treanor. The draw team is made up, primarily, of Sam Apuzzo (#2), Dempsey Arsenault (#18) and Elizabeth Miller (#3). The three spend extra time with Treanor in order to improve their reaction times, study opponents' styles, and increase their own variation of draw styles. Against top opponents, Apuzzo is capable of both drawing to herself and pulling the ball back to her teammates on the restraining line or circle. The Eagles entered the Semi Final game with 356 total draw controls on the season.

Maryland Draw Team

Maryland entered the 2018 season unsure of who would be taking the draw. However, it quickly became apparent that Kali Hartshorn was the woman for the job. The sophomore is often flanked by Megan Whittle (#23) and Lizzie Colson (#25). Louisville transfer Meghan Siverson (#37) is the team's backup draw specialist. The Terps entered the Semi Final game with 358 total draw controls on the season.

#2 Sam Apuzzo (Boston College) draws against #37 Meghan Siverson (Maryland)

Draw Controls

Coming into the game, both teams knew that draw controls would be key. Winning the draw allows a team to control the momentum, and often teams who are dominant on the circle develop a sense of security and confidence in their possessions. Maryland's opening three draw controls allowed them to have the first three possessions of the game. The Terps' offense shot 3 for 3 and had the chance to swing the momentum their way. Boston College's top defender, Elizabeth Miller, fought back with her own draw control after Maryland's third goal, resulting in a goal from the crease by Dempsey Arsenault, which slowed Maryland's momentum.

Faceguards

#33 Hannah Hyatt (Boston College) faces guards #23 Megan Whittle (Maryland)

Both Maryland and Boston College utilized faceguards with the intention of shutting down the opponent's leading scorers. Maryland's Julia Braig (#24) was marked up on Boston College's Sam Apuzzo, and Boston College's Hannah Hyatt (#33) faceguarded Marlyand's Megan Whittle (#23). BC's Carly Bell (#10) alternated between a faceguard and tight, denial pressure on Maryland's Caroline Steele.

Boston College Defense

With two defenders occupied by their faceguard duties, Boston College was left with a 5 man defensive rotation. The Eagles play a man-to-man defense normally, and stayed in it, even with the faceguards. The on-ball defender pressured out to about the 12m, and off-ball players sagged in and waited on the 8m to slide.

#5 Jen Giles (Maryland) vs #18 Dempsey Arsenault (Boston College)

In the first three minutes of the game, BC relied heavily on its 1v1 defense to hold Maryland's dodgers out. But Steele and Giles each bested their defenders, and the long help slides couldn't make it to the dodgers before they scored. In a huddle after the third goal, the Boston College defensive unit repeated the year's mantra, "All Eight, All In". They committed to sending help faster. However, the defenders over-adjusted and, in return, were penalized with a series of 3 second violations. The Eagles' defenders slid too early, and were left lingering inside the 8m arc, waiting for the anticipated dodge.

Maryland Adapts to Boston College's Early Slides

Jen Giles and Taylor Hensh (#20) recognized quickly that slides were coming too early, disturbing the timing of the defensive rotation. Rogue slides to Giles's alley dodge left players like Hensh wide open on the far wing. Maryland's offensive players have extremely quick, sharp stickwork, and they were able to swing the ball to the back side before the defense could recover. This ball movement resulted in open lanes on the back side of the 8m and a series of shooting space calls as BC defenders tried to recover. The Terps used this tactic to extend the gap, but not as far as they could have. Many Maryland shots zipped past the cage or went straight to the goalie, Daly.

Maryland Defense

Maryland usually does not utilize faceguards, but Reese implemented one on Sam Apuzzo. Apuzzo is a dynamic player who was responsible for 118 goals coming into the Semi Final game (goals and assists). She leads the team in shots on goal, assists, caused turnovers, goals, and draw controls. Although the Boston College offense boasts many scoring options, everything is run through Apuzzo. Shutting her down, taking her out of the equation, was meant to slow the Eagles' offense. Braig matched up against Apuzzo and managed to keep her quiet for the first 16:30 of the game. While Braig was busy with Apuzzo, the rest of the Maryland defense worked in its standard man-to-man.

#2 Sam Apuzzo (Boston College) vs #24 Julia Braig (Maryland) - 2018 NCAA Women's Lacrosse

Boston College's Adjustments to the Maryland Defense

In its game a week prior, against the Naval Academy, Maryland was beat on the crease over and over again. Julia Collins (#22), an attacker for Navy, scored 8 goals against the Terps from the crease. Boston College spent the week leading up to the meeting with Maryland with constant crease work. Navy had proven how weak Maryland was around the crease, and Boston College aimed to capitalize on that weakness. Again and again, the Eagles attacked from "x" and the No Man's Land areas - the space between the goal line and the elbows of the 8m. The Terps made good initial contact on the dodges and kept the Eagles in front of them, but the BC attackers knew the slide wasn't coming. Relentlessly, they continued to dodge and re-dodge, which allowed them to get their hands free for open shots, many of which Megan Taylor (#34) was unable to save.

#18 Dempsey Arsenault (Boston College) vs Maryland Defense - 2018 NCAA Women's Lacrosse

Apuzzo vs Braig

#2 Sam Apuzzo (Boston College) vs #24 Julia Braig (Maryland) - 2018 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Final Four

When faceguarded, some players pull themselves completely out of the play and watch for opportunities to streak into the critical scoring area from the restraining line. Others set picks for dodges around the crease and 12m arc. Sam Apuzzo fights to get open. All season, Apuzzo squared up against her opponents' top defenders, so Braig's faceguard was nothing new for her to manage. However, Julia Braig is one of the top defenders in the country, and she managed to keep Apuzzo scoreless until 13:30 was left on the clock in the first half. In the first 16 minutes of play, Apuzzo turned the ball over to Braig twice and had a shot that was saved by Megan Taylor.

Although she had not scored yet, Apuzzo managed to cause confusion and chaos within the Maryland defense. Braig and her fellow defenders tripped over each other in an attempt to keep Apuzzo contained, and without their main defensive leader, Maryland defenders struggled to time their help slides correctly. While her teammates drove from behind, Apuzzo pulled Braig into a muddle of her other teammates at the top of the 8m, which allowed the BC offense to pick apart Maryland's discord.

#2 Sam Apuzzo (Boston College) fires a shot vs Maryland defense - #24 Julia Braig, #33 Kathy Rudkin

With 13:30 left in the first half, Apuzzo caught Braig playing her too tightly, fighting too hard to play her top shoulder, and Apuzzo stepped off of her aggressive defender and ripped a shot past Taylor's hip. With that goal, Apuzzo broke open the floodgates for a 5 goal BC run and ended Braig's hold on her offensive action.

Tess Chandler Ties the Game

#5 Tess Chandler (Boston College) scores against Maryland defense with little angle - 2018 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Final Four

With 1:36 left in the first half, Dempsey Arsenault fed a lob into Tess Chandler (#5) from behind. Chandler was streaking down the right alley when she caught the ball. With a defender on her back, Chandler faked a shot at Taylor as she ran to goal line extended. Maryland's Taylor bit hard on the fake and jumped. As Taylor jumped, Chandler reached back over the goal line and sent the ball into the back of the cage, right where Taylor had just been standing. Her miraculous goal tied the game 8-8 and launched Boston College into halftime with the momentum in its pocket. The shot, pictured here, made it into the ESPN Top 10 plays for the week.

#5 Tess Chandler uses her height to score key goal against Maryland - 2018 NCAA Final Four

The Second Half

Both teams entered the second half ready to capitalize on their opponent's defensive gaps. Boston College scored quickly on a dodge from the crease, and Maryland countered with a draw and dump to Jen Giles - after Dempsey Arsenault jumped her slide to help Elizabeth Miller on a 1v1. Maryland then executed a dynamic offensive set that pulled a double team down to the crease. Brindi Griffin (#1) swung the ball up to Giles at the elbow who passed it to Kali Hartshorn (#16) who had just backdoored the defender, Hannah Hyatt (#33), who was recovering from the initial double team. Hartshorn sailed the ball past the goalie, Lauren Daly, to bring Maryland back ahead.

Maryland Changes Its Defense

Maryland took Braig out of the faceguard and returned to its standard 7 man man-to-man defense. After the first goal of the half, by BC's Cara Urbank (#26), Maryland finally began to send earlier slides. But Maryland struggled to put the right amount of pressure on the ball. Across the board, Maryland defenders attacked the dodgers' top shoulders, giving up easy dodging lanes to the cage and slid with their hands too high, slamming into the heads, necks, and backs of the dodgers. They let the game get to them, and continued to increase their aggression.

#26 Cara Urbank (Boston College) vs Maryland defense - 2108 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Final Four

Boston College systematically drove again and again from the crease and elbows and ultimately wore down the Terps' defense to score goals. Pictured below is another ESPN Top 10 highlight - Sam Apuzzo (#2) jukes Maryland's Grace Griffin (#22) behind the crease and scores.

#2 Sam Apuzzo (Boston College) - Tewaaraton Award

Boston College Second Half Defense

BC kept the faceguard on Megan Whittle and the denial defense on Caroline Steele - each were held to only one goal for the game. The 5 other players stayed in a 5 man man-to-man. Maryland continued to draw doubles and swing the ball to the open player on the back side in order to score. Streaking cutters were open in the middle, and Boston College was slow to recover to players on the back side. While Boston College dodged heavily on its own attack end, Maryland flipped its offense to drive, move the ball, and feed - a strategy which showcased the impressive stick skills of the Terps but uncharacteristically ended with key shots going stick-side to Boston College goalie, Lauren Daly.

#34 Lauren Daly (Boston College - Goalie) makes save against #16 Kali Hartshorn (Maryland)

Possessions

After BC's 5 goal run in the first half, the score was close, and it stayed close for the rest of the game. One team would score, and the other would answer back almost immediately. Both teams went into the game knowing that the draw would be important. They knew that draw controls would dictate possession and momentum and that the differential in the number of draw controls could determine the result of the game. They also knew that getting the ball back in the ride could give their respective teams bonus opportunities to score.

Possession of the ball via ground balls and draw controls was key in the Boston College (15) vs Maryland (13) game - 2018 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Final Four

The Draw

#2 Sam Apuzzo (Boston College) draws against #16 Kali Hartshorn (Maryland)

BC's Sam Apuzzo took the draw against Maryland's Kali Hartshorn, and later against Maryland's Meghan Siverson (#37). The first three draw controls went to Maryland, resulting in their 3 goal opening spread. In the NCAA's play-by-play breakdown of the game, one can see that every draw control in the second half ultimately resulted in a goal for the team who had won it - even if the draw and the goal were separated by a series of possessions and turnovers. The momentum of the second half was completely dictated by draw controls.

The Ride

Maryland and Boston College are both known for their aggressive rides, and both made their opponent's clear incredibly difficult. Maryland dropped back and then put heavy pressure on the ball the second it was released to a defender. As the ball approached other Maryland attackers, they jump doubled it. Steele, Whittle, and Hartshorn used their speed to hunt down defenders while their midfielders and defenders locked off BC's midfielders and attackers. Whittle is the most aggressive in the ride, and she received quite a few penalties in her career for flagrant, dangerous checks.

#2 Sam Apuzzo (Boston College) rides #23 Megan Whittle (Maryland)

Boston College swarmed the ball immediately and tried to double it throughout the midfield. The BC attackers tried to make contact with the ball carrier whenever they could, resulting in a multitude of fouls and a couple yellow cards. While all four attackers rode the Maryland defenders hard, Sam Apuzzo stood out as the most relentless of the pack. She too has been the recipient of a multitude of calls in the midfield for her aggression in the ride. Both Apuzzo and Whittle chased ball carriers down and threw wild, one-handed swings at them in an attempt to get the ball back.

Fouls

#26 Cara Urbank (Boston College) takes hit going to goal against Maryland - 2018 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Final Four

The battle between Maryland and Boston College was an extremely physical game. Boston College led the foul statistics with 22 fouls in the first half and 10 in the second - 32 total. By comparison, Maryland was penalized for 7 in the first half and 9 in the second - 16 total. 5 yellow cards were awarded over the course of the game. Two went to BC: one in the first half to Christina Walsh (#8) and one in the second half to Cara Urbank (#26). The other three went to Maryland, all in the second half: two to Lizzie Colson (#25) and one to Caroline Steele (#11).

Why Did Maryland Get Called for Half the Number of Fouls BC Was Called For?

Maryland has undergone a fair amount of scrutiny the past few years for its play and awarded fouls. People who are not Maryland fans often claim that Maryland players, especially at home, don't get called often enough for their fouls. Statistics that show Maryland receiving half the fouls their opponent received (ex. this game) are used as evidence for those who believe that Maryland doesn't get called enough.

#3 Elizabeth Miller (Boston College) takes Maryland check across the head

This was a physical game, and both teams got away with flagrant fouls that they were not called for. The pictures below show a lot of rough play by Maryland defenders, but Maryland was not the only team playing aggressively. Boston College entered the match knowing that aggression would be key to winning the game. These pushes and hits caught on camera by Maryland were not only delivered by Maryland players. Boston College hit back.

#23 Megan Whittle (Maryland) vs #3 Elizabeth Miller (Boston College)

Boston College's foul total can be largely broken down into two categories: fouls in the ride and fouls created by chaos on defense. The Boston College defenders could not figure out the timing of their slide package, and this resulted in 3 seconds violations and shooting space. Plenty of these moments did not result in foul calls, especially once Maryland figured out where the openings were. But Boston College put Maryland - a team that generally shoots over 60% from the 8m - on the line 8 times with avoidable fouls like this.

Overall, both teams were fouling in the ride, and both teams fouled when they made contact with the ball carrier. But Boston College created the differential with the sheer number of shooting space, 3 seconds, and off ball fouls it was awarded.

The Fans

LaValle Stadium was packed with over 7,500 fans Friday night for the Final Four, and both the Boston College and Maryland fans were in strong attendance. Sporting neon yellow BC Lacrosse t-shirts, the BC fans packed together to support the Eagles in their wild ride to victory. Ultimately, Boston College pulled out a 15-13 win and moved on to their second National Championship game.

Tess Chandler celebrates win with Boston College friends and family after win against Maryland - 2018 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Final Four
Head Coach, Acacia Walker, celebrates win her daughter after game

Photos by Margaret Hyatt

Created By
Leigh Ernst Friestedt
Appreciate

Credits:

Photos by Margaret Hyatt - Article by Ellie Majure @ 2018 Equity IX, LLC

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