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College Lacrosse

Boston College’s Charlotte North carries role as face of women’s lacrosse as easily as she scores goals

The Boston College women’s lacrosse program did not break its NCAA title drought until it hitched its wagon to Charlotte North.

But to North, the graduate student attacker might not have set an NCAA single-season record for goals, captured the Tewaaraton Award and emerged as an icon for the sport without the Eagles.

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“They make my job extremely easy — from the draw all the way to the offensive end,” she said. “I just have so much fun out there playing with them any chance I get, especially with this being my last year. I’m just trying to soak up every moment I get with them. Every matchup we have and every time I get to put on the jersey, everything is a little bit extra special, and I’m just lucky that I have the chance to play with them.”

Boston College's Charlotte North might not have set an NCAA single-season record for goals, captured the Tewaaraton Award and emerged as an icon for the sport without the Eagles.

In an athletic era of end-zone celebrations and bat flips, North’s humility sounds refreshing. But according to Boston College coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein, North’s success is a by-product of the environment provided by her teammates and coaches.

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“I think she found a home at BC where the players around her really gave her the confidence to be who she wanted to be and gave her the confidence to be as good as she was,” said Walker-Weinstein, who’s from Annapolis and graduated from Annapolis High. “So I think a lot of Charlotte’s legacy is how her teammates helped support her role, her dream.”

An emerging talent at Duke for two seasons, North burst onto the national scene last spring, her first full year with the Eagles after her debut in 2020 was washed out by the coronavirus pandemic.

North scored 102 goals in 21 games, eclipsing the previous Division I record of 100 in 21 games set by Stony Brook’s Courtney Murphy in 2016. Her 31 goals in the NCAA Tournament shattered the previous mark of 22 shared by the Northwestern duo of Katrina Dowd in 2009 and Serena Lasota in 2018.

North’s 114 points ranked as the fifth-highest in a season at Boston College. She also controlled 174 draws, which ranked as the second most in school history. All those feats helped her become the second Eagles player in three years to collect the Tewaaraton Award — the sport’s version of the Heisman Trophy — joining former attacker and current offensive coordinator Sam Apuzzo.

Perhaps just as importantly, North emerged as a social media darling, capturing a lacrosse audience wearied by COVID-19 and seeking an outlet. It began with a video of a North trick shot posted by former Syracuse midfielder and current ESPN analyst Paul Carcaterra.

North’s Q-rating might have reached its zenith last season as she paced Boston College to its first national championship after three consecutive losses in the NCAA championship game and was invited to join Team USA.

North’s prowess with the lacrosse stick caught the attention of many, including retired U.S. soccer star Abby Wambach and young fans.

Eagles football coach Jeff Hafley said the lacrosse team’s run to the championship inspired him to wonder if North might consider adding another sport to her plate. “I want to see if maybe she’s got any interest in playing for us,” he said during a preseason Q&A session of Atlantic Coast Conference coaches. “I mean, she’s incredible.”

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North laughed off questions about her celebrity status, choosing instead to talk about her teammates. But North Carolina coach Jenny Levy said the sport needs North’s popularity.

“I think anytime that somebody captures the attention of the public in a positive way, it helps,” she said. “People are having discussions about her, right? They’re posting about her, people are curious about her. I’m a firm believer that always helps the growth of the sport. So the publicity behind that is great for our sport.”

With all eyes on her, Boston College's Charlotte North, right, has lived up to expectations.

Walker-Weinstein said that while North might not have asked to become the face of the sport, she has dealt with it without any pretense or superiority.

“She just continued being herself,” Walker-Weinstein said.

With all eyes on her, North has lived up to expectations. In No. 2 Boston College’s 15-13 victory over No. 3 Syracuse last Friday — a rematch of last year’s NCAA title game — she amassed six points on three goals and three assists to become just the seventh player in women’s lacrosse history to reach the 400-point plateau. Entering the week, she ranked fifth in the country in goals per game (4.3) and 10th in points per game (5.2) and tied for 15th in draw controls per game (6.5).

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ESPN analyst Sheehan Stanwick Burch said predecessors such as Maryland’s Taylor Cummings and Syracuse’s Kayla Treanor might have opened the door for future generations of players. But North is at another level, she said.

“In terms of how the sport has changed with Twitter and the highlights and her captivating all fans of lacrosse, I don’t remember anyone like her,” Stanwick Burch said. “There were definitely star players, but her ability to perform and every goal she scored and every ground ball that she picked up and every draw that she took, she just had that ‘Wow’ factor. And all of the pressure was on her. You knew they were going to put her at the draw, you knew they wanted the ball in her stick, and she still was able to deliver.”

As the Eagles (14-2, 6-2 ACC) enter the league tournament as the No. 2 seed with a quarterfinal date with No. 7 seed Virginia Tech (9-8, 2-6) on Friday at 5 p.m. at Notre Dame, North is as eager to slow time as she is about propelling the team to a repeat national championship.

“I never want it to end because it’s truly so much fun,” she said. “You get to go to school, you get to see your best friends, you get to play lacrosse around the clock. … I’m hoping time slows down because it’s going by pretty fast.”

ACC TOURNAMENT

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BOSTON COLLEGE VS. VIRGINIA TECH

Friday, 5 p.m.

TV: ACC Network


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