Photo courtesy of Boston College Athletics / Facebook

Women's Lacrosse is BC's New Hope in the ACC

While the performance of Boston College sports teams in the ACC this year has been subject to much hand-wringing across the country, one team refuses to join the funeral march. Midway through its 2016 campaign, the women's lacrosse team is ranked 12th in the NCAA’s Inside Lacrosse Poll.

Although the Eagles have a 6-4 record, all of the losses have come against Top 10 opponents, namely Florida, North Carolina, Notre Dame, and Louisville. The losses against Louisville and North Carolina were by just one goal.

The Eagles opened the season strong with a 9-8 home victory over in-state rival and No.16 ranked UMass on March 2 to help get momentum rolling. Initially trailing 5-3, a pair of tallies from senior Sarah Mannelly and junior Kayla O’Connor, as well as a go-head goal from sophomore Kaileen Hart, gave BC the lead for the remainder of the game. To date, UMass' sole loss of the season is to the maroon and gold.

BC also countered its losses with a statement win on March 19 with a 13-8 smackdown of No.4 ranked Syracuse. The Eagles held the high-powered Orange offense, averaging 14 goals a game, to their lowest output of the season with eight goals. Mannelly led the charge for BC, scoring four goals and handing out two assists.

Mannelly, a preseason 2016 First Team All-American, is playing her final year and has amassed 155 goals in her BC career (20 so far this season).  Senior Caroline Margolis is another stellar leader who has racked up more than 50 assists and who has also garnered All-American accolades.

Since losing all time points-leader Covie Stanwick to graduation, head coach Acacia Walker has been forced to rely on newcomers, including freshman Sam Apuzzo who has recorded 21 goals and four assists in just her first 10 games.

Senior captain and defensive backbone Molly Erdle credits much of the team’s success this season to the freshmen, saying “they have done a great job acclimating to the competitive nature of the ACC.”

10 freshmen have been added to the roster this season, all with hefty resumes, including 15 All-American accolades combined. Although this is the greatest number of freshmen on the team in the last 10 years, which Erdle acknowledged as their greatest hurdle to start the season, she claims that the freshmen altogether have risen to the challenge of assimilation.

Additionally, Erdle affirms that the team has formed strong bonds off the field that have facilitated success on the playing field; she has faith that their humility and levelheadedness will continue to prove fruitful for the remainder of the season.

The Eagles embark on a three-game road-trip this weekend beginning with Virginia, ranked No.18, on Saturday. With the post-season looming, BC is seeking its fourth straight NCAA appearance in six years and hopes to vault past the quarterfinals—a stumbling block in recent years.   

Follow @BCGavelSports on Twitter for the latest updates on Boston College athletics.