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James Madison 16, Boston College Women’s Lacrosse 15: Three Up, Three Down

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We break down BC lax’s loss in the national championship

NCAA Lacrosse: Women's Lacrosse Championship-James Madison vs Boston College Chris Bergmann-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston College Eagles women’s lacrosse team played an absolute nailbiter Sunday afternoon on Long Island in a quest to win the program’s first national championship. Unfortunately, the Eagles finished just short. We will try to make some sense of it here.

Thumbs Up:

Transition Game: One of the things that the Eagles did a fantastic job was with their rides, or their transition defense. The broadcasting crew talked a lot about this, but it’s worth repeating. The Eagles did a great job when defending in transition to disrupt JMU’s transition offense. The ride was one of BC’s greatest attributes during the season, and it really played well for the Eagles.

Eagles Played Well as a Team: The Eagles’ offense flowed very well, and it showed. BC had some trouble getting balls to the net (more on that later), but when the Eagles did, they were really efficient Of the 24 shots attempted, 22 were on net, and 15 of those shots went in. That level of offensive efficiency is spectacular.

Eagles Did Well in Traffic: More than a few times the Eagles offense found themselves with the ball in front of the net amongst a lot of defenders. The Eagles offense did a masterful job in traffic to get balls on net despite some heavy pressure. We saw this a little bit during the game Friday evening with Tess Chandler’s patience and poise with pressure, but the offense in general did well under pressure Sunday afternoon.

Thumbs Down:

I’m going to preface this section by saying that getting to the national championship game was an incredible accomplishment for this team, and none of the things that are about to be outlined should take away from the accomplishment that these student-athletes achieved this year. With that said...

Turnovers, Turnovers, Turnovers: The biggest thing that hampered the Eagles’ effort was the amount of turnovers in the attacking zone. No one player in particular was at fault, but that’s more a function of how widespread a problem it was. During the JMU run that ultimately gave the Dukes a lead they would not relinquish, the Eagles committed a number of turnovers that really stymied their abilities to mount a successful counter. Troubles in the draw control circle can kill a team, and BC did well there, but giving the ball back after you win the draw doesn’t help either.

Goaltending: I always hate singling out goaltending because it inherently singles out one person, and that’s not always fair. I often find that goaltenders often get too much of the blame and not enough of the credit for things. With that said:

When a goaltender has a .318 day in net, and isn’t statistically the worst goaltender in the game, it’s a problem. Lauren Daly had a .273 save percentage Sunday afternoon. That is a problem. She deserved accolades for the effort that she put in against Stony Brook, as she did a lot to keep the Eagles in that game. But that means a .273 day has to raise some eyebrows.

Don’t Feel the Kern. Kenzie Would Not Have Won: The most prominent narrative that I’ve seen circling around is that, if Kenzie Kent had played, the Eagles would have won, and I have to say I don’t buy that argument. The biggest problems for the Eagles were goaltending and turnovers. Kenzie Kent playing would not have made Daly save more shots. As for turnovers, Kenzie Kent playing would not have magically made her teammates handle the ball more carefully. Finishing (Kent’s best skill) was not the Eagles’ issue Saturday afternoon; the Eagles, when they got balls to the net, were remarkably efficient. It was turnovers that did the Eagles in offensively, and Kenzie Kent’s presence doesn’t magically make the Eagles better in that realm.

Like let’s not do a disservice to the team this year, as if they weren’t somehow good enough without her. They got to the national championship game. They just got beat by a really good JMU team that played upon some of BC’s weaknesses. That’s all. It happens. JMU has a good team too, and simply put the Dukes were the better team Sunday afternoon, and no one player is going to change that.