It must feel like deja vu for Boston College.
After facing the Terrapins in the national championship game a year ago, the Eagles will have to deal with national powerhouse Maryland again, this time in the semi final.
After a dramatic double overtime victory against undefeated Stony Brook in the national quarterfinals, the Eagles soar into Long Island looking to avenge last season’s defeat. The win at Newton, against the SeaWolves and wretched conditions, have the Eagles feeling like a team of destiny.
After coming out of seemingly nowhere a year ago, this time, the Eagles command respect.
“Boston College is going to be really difficult to defend,” said Maryland coach Cathy Reese. “They’re a well-rounded, well-coached team that is balanced. We just need to be prepared in all areas and ready for the challenge ahead.”
Kenzie Kent, a hero in last year’s postseason, didn’t play this season due to hockey commitments. In her stead, Dempsey Arsenault (New Hampton, NH) broke out as an offensive leader and Sam Apuzzo led the nation with 81 goals.
It has made the transition easier for a BC squad wanting to focus on the future.
“We’re not focusing on the past,” said Eagles coach Acaica Walker-Weinstein. “No one is afraid to make plays. If my girls can stay level-headed in double overtime to go to the Final Four, then I don’t have to address [staying poised]. That’s one of their strengths.”
There have been times in the postseason, especially the first round playoff contest against Princeton, where the top scoring duo has ben shut down. That’s left it up to Kaileen Hart and others to step up, and the Eagles have the depth to face a team like Maryland.
With Lauren Daly in net, taking over for Zoe Ochoa, the Eagles defense has been equally as strong. The Terps score upwards of 16 goals per game, and it seems like Daly will need to allow less than that to give the Eagles a chance.
The Eagles also won 20 of 26 draw controls against Stony Brook, behind Apuzzo. That doesn’t seem likely to be the case against Maryland, but its a strength for the squad.
It’s hard to find a flaw in the Eagles. They’ve made it this far for a reason, proving last year’s run wasn’t a fluke. But to be the best in this game, it takes defeating the likes of Maryland.
On Friday, the Eagles get that chance.