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Rich Thompson | The Boston Herald | May 10, 2017

Goalie Zoe Ochoa leads Boston College into NCAA tournament

  Zoe Ochoa had a 13.28 goals-against average in her senior season.

Zoe Ochoa will wrap up her women's lacrosse career in the NCAA tournament, the place where it began.

Boston College (13-6) qualified for the field of 26 teams for the fifth straight season and will face Canisius in the opening round of the Syracuse Regional on Friday in the Carrier Dome.

RELATED: 2017 interactive bracket | Tournament schedule

The winner will play No. 6 seed Syracuse on Sunday. The final four teams will compete for the title at Gillette Stadium beginning May 26.

"I think the program is going in the right direction and I give all the credit to the kids for making it," said BC coach Acacia Walker.

Ochoa, a senior goaltender, holds a unique place in the Eagles' success. She was an untested freshman with just one regular season start to her credit when Walker put the back end of the team in her hands.

"We just loved and trusted Zoe because she played with such guts and was so instinctual," said Walker. "Sometimes you value those things a bit more than your traditional goalie. She can make diving saves from her knees and doing ridiculous things and not playing her angles and not playing goalie strategy."

Ochoa made her second career start in the opening round of the 2014 tournament and recorded nine saves in a win over Bryant. She followed with four saves in a win over Loyola and 10 in a loss to North Carolina.

She will be back in net against Canisius. Ochoa started 19 games this season and allowed 148 goals for a 13.28 goals-against average and .388 save percentage.

"In tight games and in playoffs against these really good teams we value her instinctual side," said Walker.

While Ochoa held down her spot, the Eagles' attack produced the highest scoring offense in program history. The Eagles scored 282 goals, led by two proficient snipers, sophomore Sam Apuzzo (64-29-93) and senior Kate Weeks (60-16-76).

Apuzzo and Weeks enjoyed great support from Kaileen Hart (36-19-55), Kayla O'Connor (36-17-53) and Kenzie Kent (18-22-40). Kent, who skates first line on the hockey team, posted those impressive numbers in just seven games.

"From the very beginning of the year the coaches decided that the most important thing to our offense was going to be ball movement and setting up all seven girls," said Walker. "We focused on ball movement so that seven people could have opportunities and make it more difficult to cover.

"I think looking at our personnel we had to figure out how to get the best out of everybody."

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