NEWTON - Lacrosse fans in Massachusetts have come to appreciate and know the top players on the Boston College squad over the last three seasons. The names have become familiar. The achievements impressive.
Dating back to May of 2017, when the Eagles advanced to the national championship game at Gillette Stadium and lost to Maryland, the dominance has been evident. Two straight seasons, BC cruised through the regular season undefeated, claiming back-to-back ACC regular season championships.
Attacker Sam Apuzzo was named the nation's top player in 2018, taking home the Tewaaraton Trophy. Apuzzo, along with teammate Dempsey Arsenault, is a finalist once again for the honor in 2019.
With all of this success, there's a large void on their checklist and in their trophy case. The Eagles couldn't break through to win the ACC Tournament championship and they've lost the last two national championship games. Four total losses since Memorial Day weekend in 2017. That's it.
While BC focuses on the next challenge, never looking ahead to what the future might hold beyond who's next on the schedule, there's a burning desire to redefine their legacy and finish the 2019 season on top.
"It's definitely something that's there," said Apuzzo. "It's not something we harp on and think about too much, but there's always that thought."
"You think about it constantly, because it's such a big part of our careers and our lives," added Kenzie Kent, an attacker for the Eagles. "You just want to get back there to really not have any regrets when you're leaving."
The Eagles host Princeton Saturday afternoon at 1pm in Newton, with the winner advancing to the Final Four in Baltimore. The Tigers advanced by beating Loyola-Maryland. The Eagles got past Colorado in their first tournament game.
"Princeton's really good and strong," said Arsenault. "We're just preparing for that and just getting ready to face them."
"Princeton's an amazing team," said head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein. "They're incredibly deep and well-rounded and so we're working a little bit on every part of our game"
A championship is still three wins away, so the Eagles are embracing the challenge of competition in practice and during games.
"We're excited," said Walker-Weinstein. "We have a really good group and we're just trying to enjoy the ride and work really hard to improve and stay one day at a time and be where our feet are.We're not really thinking too much about anything beyond this day and just preparing to be better."
Apuzzo, the unquestioned leader and tone-setter, thinks the growth the team has experienced over the last four seasons can pay off at this time of year.
"It's super-important to have team chemistry," said Apuzzo. "It only makes our team so much better. It's one of the keys that makes our team what we are."
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