Top-seeded North Carolina carried a school-record 27-game winning streak into Friday’s NCAA Division I women’s lacrosse semifinals at Towson University, including a lopsided win over Boston College earlier this season.
To advance to a fourth straight national title game, Eagles coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein knew her team’s approach needed to change, and that started with some simple math.
“There were a lot of number games we were playing with things that they have been showing all year in terms of how many goals they’ve allowed, how many goals they’re scoring,” said Walker-Weinstein, an Annapolis High graduate. “I think the numbers allowed us to create certain targets and goals for each end of the field.”
In the end, the numbers added up to an 11-10 win for Boston College of the previously unbeaten Tar Heels before an announced sellout of 5,100 in the first semifinal round since 2008 without a Maryland team at Johnny Unitas Stadium.
Junior Jenn Medjid scored four goals and junior goalie Rachel Hall made 11 saves, including several in spectacular fashion, as Boston College (17-3) advanced to Sunday’s noon final against Syracuse, which upset unbeaten Northwestern, 21-13, in Friday’s other semifinal. The Eagles are seeking their first title after losing the past three championship games, including in 2017 and 2019 to Maryland.
Despite losing 16 of 23 draws, Boston College more than made up the difference with an opportunistic defense that held the Tar Heels to their second lowest point total of the season.
“We weren’t capitalizing on our possessions on offense,” said North Carolina coach Jenny Levy, a Roland Park graduate. “We only held them to three goals in the second half. We really needed to step up and finish those opportunities.”
Offensively, particularly in the first half, Boston College took advantage of theirs, scoring on 11 of their 26 shots
“UNC has a really great defense, but I think we had a really great game plan going in,” Medjid said. “We know they’re great one-to-one defenders and they don’t tend to slide, so I think we just focused on isolating and just stick to our game plan, and we executed really well.”
Trailing, 11-6, North Carolina stormed back with three straight goals, the final two by redshirt-senior Katie Hoeg. In the final minutes, however, Boston College held off the charge with a pair of point-blank saves by Hall, coupled with a pair of yellow cards on the Tar Heels in the final 1:17.
Following a goal off the opening draw by Boston College junior Caitlynn Mossman (Notre Dame Prep), North Carolina began to assert control, winning three straight draws and turning them into scores over a span of 2:30. When senior Scottie Rose Growney scored on a free position minutes later, the Tar Heels had build their lead to 4-2.
But in a game that could have turned lopsided, like Boston College’s 21-9 loss to North Carolina in March, the Eagles this time showed they were up for the battle.
After killing off a 2-minute penalty, they began to win loose balls and force turnovers, with Charlotte North’s underhanded shot after picking up a loose ball deep in North Carolina’s end igniting a 4-0 run over the next 5:37 that put Boston College up 6-4.
Despite losing 10 of the game’s first 13 draw controls, the Eagles took an 8-5 lead into halftime following Cassidy Weeks’ shot from in front with 12.5 seconds left, and extended it to 9-5 in the second half when Cara Urbank fed Moss out of a restart.
The dagger, however, came midway through the second half, when, in quick succession, Boston College goalie Rachel Hall came out to block away a point-blank free position by Tayler Warehime (Manchester Valley), then the Eagles converted on the other end on Medjid’s free position, following a foul, extending the lead to 11-6.
at Johnny Unitas Stadium, Towson
BOSTON COLLEGE VS. SYRACUSE
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