STONY BROOK, N.Y. — After over 25 minutes straight of back-and-forth lacrosse between Boston College and Maryland — tied, untied, tied, untied again, and tied once more — Sam Apuzzo finally broke that monotony with a little more than eight minutes left.
She also nearly broke Terrapins midfielder Grace Griffin’s ankles.
Apuzzo, in front of hometown fans, scored two goals in a 48 second span, to propel Boston College to a 15-13 victory over Maryland at Stony Brook’s LaValle Stadium. The Eagles will play the James Madison Dukes in the NCAA Championship Sunday afternoon.
The first of the two goals, the highlight reel tally, came off of a in-and-out cut behind the Maryland cage, that left Griffin collapsing to the turf.
The second? An Apuzzo classic. She ripped it into the top-corner to give Boston College a 15-13 lead, its first two-goal advantage all game long.
Apuzzo now has 85 goals this season, 10 fewer than Stony Brook’s Courtney Murphy for the national lead in the category, but for Apuzzo, the number is meaningless. Playing on Long Island, that was special for the West Babylon native. Beating Maryland, who won in the national championship against Boston College last year? That was even more special.
Apuzzo was special on the draw, too, winning 17 of 30 overall, earning 10 draw controls herself. This was her night.
You see, Boston College didn’t come to the Final Four to slay a dragon, but rather some different, less fictitious reptiles: the Terrapins. But the Eagles didn’t fear the turtle, even when Maryland opened action on a 6-2 run and the crowd began to erupt for them.
Boston College responded with a 5-0 run, spurred by a stretch of spectacular Sam Apuzzo drawing. The final two of the five tallies were off the stick of Cara Urbank, who went to high school at Long Island’s Mineola High School.
After the run, Boston College took a 7-6 lead, its first of the day. From there, it was back-and-forth.
And by, back-and-forth, that means back-and-forth-and-back-and-forth-and-back-and-forth-and-back-and-forth.
The game was tied at 7, at 8, at 9, at 10, at 11, at 12, and at 13. The old cliche, “lacrosse is a game of runs,” was refuted on the NCAA Final Four stage.
With the score tied, 13-13, Maryland goalie Megan Taylor robbed BC’s Dempsey Arsenault on a straight-away free-position try. At the other end, goalie Lauren Daly robbed Kali Hartshorn, who had four goals in the day. It was that kind of thrilling back-and-forth action.
Arsenault, Boston College’s star two-way midfielder, had a terrific night, accruing three goals and two assists, as did Maryland’s Jen Giles: three goals and three assists.
But make no mistake. This was Sam Apuzzo’s night.
Boston College will be back on the field Sunday at 12 p.m. when they play James Madison for the national championship. We’ll have a new national champion, and a team that will also win their first title in program history.