January 27, 2016
Sarah Mannelly is dealing with a knee injury heading into 2016 season. (John Risley)
Sarah Mannelly is dealing with a knee injury heading into 2016 season. (John Risley)

Nike/LM NCAA Preview: No. 8 Boston College (Women)

by Brian Logue | LaxMagazine.com | #LMRanks

Boston College is coming off a spectacular season but loses two of its key cogs. Still, the Eagles can make their mark in the ACC and beyond once again.

Boston College is ranked No. 8 in the Nike/Lacrosse Magazine Preseason Top 20. Follow the preseason countdown at LaxMagazine.com/LMRanks and with the hashtag #LMRanks.

Boston College at a Glance

All-Time: 196-200
NCAAs: 4
Final Fours: 0
Championships: 0

Head Coach
Acacia Walker
Record at Boston College
42-18
Assistants
Brooke Griffin
Jennifer Kent

2015 Record: 15-4
ACC: 5-2
Home: 7-3
Away: 8-0
Neutral: 0-1

National Rankings
Offense » 5th
Defense » 47th
Draws » 7th
CTs » 97th
Save Pct. » 92nd

 

3 Big Things

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

The Eagles had a banner year in 2015 in head coach Acacia Walker's third season. Their 5-2 ACC record gave the Eagles their best-ever conference finish.

1. There is life after Rix and Stanwick.

Mikaela Rix and Covie Stanwick finished their careers in 2015 as Boston College's all-time leading scorers, but the Eagles won't be lost without them. "They were so powerful that I think at times our supporting cast got a little overshadowed," coach Acacia Walker said.

What they did do was help Boston College climb the ranks in the ultra-competitive ACC. "They wanted to be good, they didn't just want to survive. The foundation was already there and now the culture has shifted," Walker said. "We got a couple of blue-chip recruits like Mikaela and Covie, and then more followed after that."

2. Kenzie Kent is the wildcard looming in the wings.

As Kent was helping to lead the Boston College women's ice hockey team to the Frozen Four, her opportunity to join the lacrosse team kept getting pushed back. So when she traded skates for cleats, she didn't waste any time. Her first game was on April 4, and she scored a pair of goals against Duke. She finished with 22 goals in just eight games, including five goals in an overtime loss to Syracuse in the ACC tournament. She scored BC's final three goals in that game, each goal tying the game.

"I won't say I was expecting it, but I was ready for it," Walker said. "She is an absolute stud, freak athlete and she loves lacrosse."

With BC's hockey team rolling again this year, Walker may not have her anytime soon again. But that's OK. "She's so good at hockey," Walker said. "We loved watching her play."

3. The Eagles are well positioned in goal.

Zoe Ochoa made a save for the ages, a diving stop in overtime to preserve a 10-9 victory over North Carolina during the regular season, but the junior will face legitimate challenges to retain her starting position in goal. Classmate Lindsay Reder had a good fall and freshman Lauren Daly was one of the Eagles' most heralded recruits.

Projected Starters

Attack
Sam Apuzzo (Fr.)
Tess Chandler (Jr.)*
Kayla O'Connor (Jr.)
Kate Weeks (Jr.)

Midfield
Carly Bell (So.)*
Sarah Mannelly (Sr.)*
Caroline Margolis (Sr.)*
Mary Kate O'Neill (Jr.)*

Defense
Dempsey Arsenault (Fr.)
Molly Erdle (Sr.)*
Elizabeth Miller (Fr.)

Goalie
Zoe Ochoa (Jr.)*

* returning starters

 

Tewaaraton Potential

Caroline Margolis

Margolis was BC's do-it-all player in 2015 and finished with 65 points and a team-high 28 assists. "She's so underrated," Walker said. "We put her on low attack and asked her to score goals. We put her on low defense and asked her to shut down other team's best players, and we put her on the circle and asked her to get the draws. She does everything we ask."

Impact Newcomer

Elizabeth Miller

Great speed and athleticism has Walker very excited about her newest defender. A two-time US Lacrosse All-American, Miller, a B.C. freshman, led New Canaan (Conn.) High to three state championships.

Best-Kept Secret

Molly Erdle

A four-year regular, Erdle will be the anchor of a young, athletic group that Walker thinks will be a major strength. Erdle ranked second on the team with 14 caused turnovers.

Biggest Question Mark

Sarah Mannelly's health

Mannelly, a Tewaaraton finalist, tied for the team lead with 50 goals, but a knee injury could keep her sidelined for the start of the season. Walker is in no hurry to rush her back, but knows she will be key to the team’s success. “She’s the backbone,” Walker said.

 

Kenzie Kent continues to be a two-sport star at Boston College and that's just fine with lacrosse coach Acacia Walker. (John Risley)

Enemy Lines

 

What rival coaches say about the Eagles

"Sarah Mannelly returns on offense. Maryland grad Brooke Griffin on coaching staff. Top recruiting class. Covie Stanwick and Mikaela Rix both graduated on the offensive end. Can they be replaced? Team is young."

"Coming into their own. A different look with Covie Stanwick gone. The Eagles lost a number of key starters but do return Tewaaraton finalist Sarah Mannelly, who should keep Boston College competitive in the deep ACC."

"Will have to find new presence on the draw with the loss of Rix. Need new determination losing the consistency of Stanwick's competitiveness."

"Coming off one of the most successful seasons in the history of the program. They lost a couple really good kids that they built the program around."

"They did graduate some important players. They have some athletic kids with some speed back though. I think they'll be faster and more aggressive than in years past."

Telling Number

6

Number of players with at least 20 draw controls for Boston College last year. Kara Magley figures to play an important role for the Eagles at this critical spot.

2016 Schedule

February
14 @ Boston U.
17 @ Holy Cross
21 @ Notre Dame
27 @ Louisville

March
2 UMass
5 Navy
11 @ Florida
13 @ Stetson

19 Syracuse
26 North Carolina
 

April
2 @ Virginia
6 @ Yale
9 @ Duke
12 Dartmouth
16 Virginia Tech
20 @ Harvard
23 Johns Hopkins

 

Key Game

March 11 at Florida

Boston College meets Florida for the first time ever in a game featuring BC’s dynamic young defensive players against some talented rookie offensive threats from Florida.

What’s New?

Brooke Griffin

The 2015 Maryland graduate joined the Boston College coaching staff in June and was recently selected as one of 24 players that will make a foreign tour in England this summer with the U.S. women's national team.

Bottom Line

Boston College will be a much better team in April than in February. The Eagles will have Kenzie Kent back from hockey and Sarah Mannelly should be fully recovered. But they'll be challenged before then. Six of the first eight games are on the road, and BC plays six NCAA tournament teams before the calendar flips to April.


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