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Maryland women’s lacrosse vs. Boston College national championship preview

The Terrapins will have a chance at their 14th NCAA title.

NCAA Lacrosse: Women’s Lacrosse Championship-Maryland vs Boston College Chris Bergmann-USA TODAY Sports

Top-seeded Maryland women’s lacrosse will face off against Boston College for the 2019 NCAA championship on Sunday.

Both teams came into the season ranked No. 1 and No. 2, but it was Boston College who held the top spot. The Terrapins were able to reclaim the top ranking late in the season when the Eagles lost to North Carolina in the ACC championship game, but only held the ranking for a week as they lost to Northwestern in the Big Ten championship. The selection committee seemed to like the Terrapins’ resume more, however, as Maryland earned the top overall seed.

Boston College got its revenge against UNC in the first semifinal Friday night, winning 15-14 in double-overtime. The Terps, meanwhile, crushed Northwestern 25-13 to set up a heavyweight titlt game. Maryland has had a smooth journey through the tournament thus far, but will need a special performance Sunday to bring a 14th national championship back to College Park.

Opening draw for Sunday’s game at Homewood Field in Baltimore is set for noon ET and will be televised on ESPNU.

No. 2-seed Boston College Eagles (22-1, 7-0 ACC)

2018 finish: 22-2, 7-0 ACC, lost in national championship game

Head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein is in her seventh season leading the Boston College program, and has taken it to new heights in recent years. She was named the 2017 IWLCA Coach of the Year after leading the team to a program-best 17-7 record, but topped that with an undefeated regular season and 22-2 record in 2018. The Eagles have never won a national championship, but this Sunday will mark the third year in a row they have made the championship game.

Prior to her coaching career, Walker played at Maryland and graduated in 2005. She was a team captain her senior year, while also being named an IWLCA All-American and All-ACC player. In 2004 and 2005, she was also a candidate for the Tewaaraton Award.

Players to know

Senior attacker Sam Apuzzo (No. 2) is the reigning Tewaaraton Award winner and the nation’s leading goal scorer this year. She has netted 91 goals in 23 games this season, while also adding 29 assists and 185 draw control victories. Against North Carolina, Apuzzo was held to a modest two goals and one assist, but did score the game-winning goal in double-overtime to send the Eagles to the national championship.

Senior midfielder Dempsey Arsenault (No. 18) is the Boston College team captain and one of the five Tewaaraton finalists. She has scored 64 goals on the season to go along with 26 assists, 97 draw controls, as well as going 15-of-28 on free-position chances. When teams focus on Apuzzo, Arsenault finds ways to capitalize, and did so on Friday by scoring a hat trick against North Carolina.

Graduate senior attacker Kenzie Kent (No. 4) is a dual-sport athlete who plays in the shadows of Apuzzo and Dempsey Arsenault, but makes her mark. She leads the team with 121 points (47 goals, 74 assists) this season after taking the 2018 season off to finish out her hockey career, where she participated in three Frozen Fours. This will be her final go as a college athlete, so she will certainly have an impact to make against the Terps.

Three things to watch

1. Can Maryland put together a perfect 60 minutes? The Terps put together as close to a perfect effort as possible against Northwestern, but that will need to be replicated against Boston College. Sunday represents the last ride for a very special Maryland senior class, and they will certainly leave it all on the field.

“I want to just go out there and have fun,” senior goalie Megan Taylor said. “I get 60 more minutes with my best friends and I was saying that during the game, ‘I don’t want to end it. Like, 60 more, that’s all we want.’ Throughout the season and my four years, I always wanted to play the 22 or 23 games and last year we came up a little short and the seniors didn’t get to wear the Maryland uniform the one last time and now we do. Now we just got to take it all in.”

2. This could be a battle for the Tewaaraton. Both Maryland and Boston College have two Tewaaraton Award finalists, so this matchup could play a huge role in deciding who takes home lacrosse’s most coveted individual prize. Apuzzo and Arsenault will go head-to-head with Taylor in net, while Jen Giles will have a chance to make her case on the big stage against another one of the best teams in the country.

3. The energy and atmosphere will certainly play a factor. The Terrapins took the cake for most outstanding performance on Friday, and will be looking for that extra gear in their final go on Sunday. The crowd of 8,508 in the semifinal stands as the ninth-largest crowd in NCAA women’s lacrosse history, and the two most supported teams were Maryland and Boston College. The intimate venue will guarantee fans a chance to have an effect Sunday.