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Boston College lacrosse routs Notre Dame 21-10 to advance to Final Four

#4 Boston College rolled over #5 Notre Dame 21-10 on Saturday to advance to their fourth consecutive Final Four.

Unlike the regular season games between these two teams, BC didn’t launch out to a huge early lead; this time, it was a slow burn, with BC never losing control of the game, but not pulling away for good until the second half. But the end result was no less dominant.

Charlotte North scored 8 goals, won 7 draws, and ripped some highlight reel cannons from deep to lead a BC attack that saw 8 different players tally goals. With her monster effort, North tied Sam Apuzzo’s single-season record with 94 goals this year, and stands a good chance of breaking it at the Final Four.

It was clear from the early going that Notre Dame’s game plan in this one was to try their best to slow the game down, be extremely aggressive on defense, force turnovers as they did throughout the regular season, and rely on some stout goaltending by their standout keeper, Bridget Deehan.

While it worked to some extent to limit the damage early, Notre Dame ultimately made things way too easy for BC by fouling early and often, giving the high-powered Eagles a litany of opportunities to score from free positions and on the power play. Notre Dame committed a whopping 43 fouls to BC’s 15, and the Eagles enjoyed 4 free position goals and 6 woman-advantage situations caused by Notre Dame yellow cards.

Deehan did indeed play a stellar game, making 10 saves, but with BC winning 22 draw controls to Notre Dame’s 8, there was not much she or anyone else could do to limit the onslaught of Eagle chances, with the Eagles eventually firing 31 shots on net, doubling up Notre Dame’s total.

While the second half was defined by North’s continued assault on the record books, the early star in the first half was freshman Belle Smith. After Notre Dame took their only lead of the game - 1-0, in the first two minutes - Smith potted a quick hat trick, scoring three goals within a 1:10, to jolt BC to a lead they would never relinquish.

The scariest moments of the game for BC came late in the first half, when save after ridiculous save by Deehan allowed Notre Dame to chip away at BC’s lead and pull to within 7-5 in the final minutes of the half. But Jenn Medjid broke a long scoreless spell by whipping home a goal with under 1 second remaining in the half after a sweet feed from Smith, and that seemed to basically snuff out any momentum the Irish were looking to carry.

BC now faces a familiar foe in the Final Four, the #1-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels, who are undefeated and handed the Eagles a lopsided 21-9 loss earlier this season. The game will take place on Friday (time TBA), in Towson, MD. The all-chalk Final Four features three ACC teams - BC, UNC, as well as Syracuse, who will take on Northwestern in the other semifinal.