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
#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)
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.
#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 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