When considering options for this year’s play of the year, the category is crowded. However, the clear choice emerged Friday, May 24 in Baltimore, when Sam Apuzzo scored the game winning goal in the women’s lacrosse national semifinal against North Carolina, which sealed the Boston College Eagles’ berth in the national championship. The goal beat out Appuzo’s marker earlier in the season against Syracuse which clinched a berth in the ACC championship, Michael Walker’s punt return touchdown against Syracuse and Kali Flanagan’s goal versus Northeastern in the Hockey East championship game.
Here’s the goal if anyone needs a refresher.
A couple things jump out about this play.
First, Apuzzo’s individual efforts made this play happen. Apuzzo had been face guarded the whole game by North Carolina, and had been severely limited in her efforts. However, on this particular play, Apuzzo’s skill level shined. Apuzzo came out from behind the cage and was immediately picked up by Emma Trenchard (No. 23) Trenchard played stifling defense on Apuzzo, who then put on a playmaking clinic, leading Trenchard up the field before immediately cutting back, creating some space. Apuzzo then shot from what appears to be her backhand side and rifled a wicked shot top shelf from a tough angle. From any way of looking at it, the play was impressive.
Second, the timing was impeccable, and the play itself clutch. Apuzzo, as we saw against Syracuse in the ACC tournament, had a flair for the dramatic, winning the game for the Eagles late in the second half of that game. Apuzzo’s tendencies for play in the clutch were so important throughout her career, and in her second to last game she was able to prove herself.
Finally, it seems fitting that in a career with so many goals scored for Apuzzo that her last noteworthy goal was one of such importance. Apuzzo will go down as one of, if not the, best women’s lacrosse player in BC women’s lacrosse history (and really ought to have her number retired, Athletics, if you’re reading this), and she staked that career not just on quantity of goals, but quality, and this is why.