Starting on Wednesday morning, #4 Boston College women’s lacrosse will begin play in the 2023 ACC Tournament. They’ve taken quite the journey to get here and their path forward isn’t looking any easier.
First of all, it must be noted that BC is on an incredible hot streak. Since dropping a game to #6 Denver back in March, the Eagles have not lost, stringing together 7-straight wins. Those victories include games over #1 Syracuse (who were undefeated at the time), #11 Notre Dame, and #12 Virginia. Coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein has talked a lot about getting the team ramped up at the right time of the year and making sure they’re playing their best lacrosse once the playoffs come around, and it looks like they’re doing just that. This is an experienced coaching staff and group of players that have seen big moments before and know how to win under pressure. Their momentum at this time of year shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody.
Leading the charge is senior attacker Jenn Medjid. She is BC’s leading scorer by a wide margin, racking up an incredible 64 goals. That amount puts her at 3rd in the nation and 1st in the ACC. Her offensive prowess cannot be understated and she is a huge reason that BC is in a great position for a run. Her supporting cast is also filled with incredible offensive talent, from sophomore Mckenna Davis to juniors Belle Smith and Kayla Martello to the Weeks sisters in their final season on the Heights, there are a huge number of scoring threats on this BC team. All six of those players have earned a hat trick at some point this season. The Eagles’ offense is probably their greatest weapon, picking apart defenses and driving them to multiple comebacks this season against ranked opponents when it looked like they were going to lose. You can never count this team out, making them as dangerous as anyone in the NCAA.
On the other side of the ball, you have a great defense, too. The star this year is freshman goaltender Shea Dolce. After splitting time with longtime net-minder Rachel Hall at the beginning of the season, Dolce has fully taken over the starting spot and has proved her worth. With multiple ACC player of the week awards and a save% that makes her one of the best in the conference (and the best freshman in the nation), BC is in good hands. Senior Sydney Scales and Junior Hunter Roman are also a defensive studs and classic disrupters, able to clog passing lanes and break up plays like few others in the ACC. That talent has made them 21st in scoring defense this season. Maybe not a reason they could win a championship, but strong nonetheless.
BC’s first opponent in this tournament is slated to be Duke, the ACC’s 9-seed and #34 in national RPI. The Blue Devils went 1-8 in conference this season and shouldn’t be much of a threat to BC’s title hopes, but this is a conference of champions after all. Being one of the conference’s worst teams and still 34th in the nation is a testament to the grueling schedule ACC teams face every year and how it prepares them well for the postseason. BC defeated them 17-8 this season and will look to ride their great offense over the strong Duke defense once again.
Next up for the Eagles are either Notre Dame or Virginia in the ACC semifinals on Friday afternoon. This is where things could start to get dicey. Both of these squads are top-15 teams, with Notre Dame nearly defeating Boston College earlier this year if it weren’t for an incredible 4th quarter comeback. Notre Dame has the nation’s 5th-best scoring offense (BC is 10th) and the 8th-best scoring defense (BC is 21st). The Fighting Irish have dominated most opponents they’ve faced and their loss to BC is their only loss since March. They are red hot and could have serious upset potential.
Virginia is a bit of the opposite. They were absolutely crushed by the Eagles a few weeks ago, 25-13, and are .500 since March 11th. Their 6-game winning streak to start the year seems like it was forever ago. They are still a competitive bunch and played the Eagles close for the entire first half, but they are clearly a step below the ACC’s elite.
Finally, if Boston College advances to the championship game on Sunday afternoon, they will likely have either Syracuse or UNC waiting for them. These two are ranked #1 and #3 in the nation, respectively. Like BC, there’s nothing that these teams don’t do well. UNC are the defending national champions bringing back a huge amount of experienced talent, and Syracuse has led one of the nation’s best offenses to an incredible 15-1 record, their only loss coming to BC in the final game of the season. These three teams have slugged it out for years against each other and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see any of them hoist the ACC Championship trophy at the end of the weekend. Between them they boast some of the conference’s best attackers, defenders, goaltenders, and coaches. The semifinals and championship game are must-watch TV.