On Friday evening, Boston College travels down to North Carolina to match up with the Syracuse Orange in the 2023 Women’s Lacrosse Final Four. It is BC’s sixth-straight appearance in the Final Four and, should they win their first game, it will be their sixth-straight appearance in the NCAA national championship game. The Eagles are undefeated (5-0) in their last five semifinals appearances in five years.
Let’s take a look at how this team got here and what it will take to reclaim their spot at the mountaintop.
It’s been quite the rollercoaster ride for BC WLax these past few years. Acacia Walker-Weinstein took this team to three straight national title games in her 5th, 6th, and 7th years as Boston College head coach, but faltered at the very end each time before finally breaking through in 2021 with the program’s first ever national title. That title run included a transcendent clutch performance in the semifinal by Boston College legend Charlotte North, who scored six goals (three in the 4th quarter) to comeback and defeat rival UNC by a score of 11-10, before finally defeating Syracuse in the national championship game and claiming what had been a long time coming. Charlotte North’s senior season in 2022 didn’t have quite the same fairytale ending, as the Eagles fell to UNC in a close 12-11 NCAA title game despite her four goals and BC’s last minute comeback attempt.
The program entered its post-Charlotte North era in 2023, but that hasn’t slowed them down this postseason. BC is on an incredible hot streak. Since dropping a game to #5 Denver back in March, the Eagles have not lost, stringing together 12 straight wins since. Those victories include games over #2 Syracuse (who were undefeated at the time), #4 North Carolina in the ACC Championship, and #11 Notre Dame (three separate times). 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 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.
This BC team’s calling card all year has been their offense. They were top-10 in basically every offensive category and averaged an impressive 15+ goals per game in the regular season. The attack is led by senior Jenn Medjid, who has slotted perfectly into BC’s 1A scoring option in the absence of Charlotte North. Medjid is Boston College’s lead scorer by a wide margin with 77 total goals, putting her at the top of the ACC and 4th in the nation. She is backed up by a dangerous supporting cast, too, with the likes of Belle Smith and Kayla Martello racking up 50+ goals themselves. With some of the best threats in all of college lacrosse and an offense that regularly puts up some of the best passing statistics in the nation, BC obliterated Notre Dame in the NCAA quarterfinals and is primed for another outstanding showing in the Final Four.
The bigger surprise this postseason has been the Boston College defense. They’ve always been pretty good, but a switch got flipped once freshman goaltender Shea Dolce replaced veteran Rachel Hall in net full-time after BC’s loss to Denver. Dolce earned herself ACC Freshman of the Year honors while protecting the goal in all 12 games of this win streak, showing up clutch in multiple instances. BC’s offense struggled against Notre Dame in the ACC semifinal, but Dolce stood tall and recorded 11 saves while only allowing the Irish to score one goal in the entire second half. Dolce and the defense had another incredibly clutch performance in the ACC Championship game, not allowing defending national champions UNC to score a single goal in the final 10 minutes of the game and securing BC’s first ever ACC championship in women’s lacrosse. The Eagles defense has stepped up from good to great in this postseason and it has launched them right back into the conversation for national championship contention. And it’s all being led by a FRESHMAN!
The first game for BC this weekend is against a familiar foe: the Syracuse Orange.
BC defeated Syracuse in 2021’s national championship game for the program’s first-ever title. They also defeated Cuse in the final week of the 2023 regular season, spoiling the Orange’s perfect 15-0 record to claim the ACC’s regular season crown. Now they face off once again for the chance to play in the 2023 national title game.
Where: WakeMed Soccer Park, Cary, NC
When: Friday May 26th
Kickoff Time: 5:30pm ET
How to Watch: The semifinal game will be broadcasted on ESPNU and can be streamed on the ESPN app
Syracuse has one of the nation’s best offenses, scoring an incredible 16.5 goals per game, which is the best in the ACC by almost a full goal and is 3rd-best in the NCAA. Grad student Meaghan Tyrell is the attacker leading that charge, leading the Orange with over 100 points this season (55G, 52A). But the real threat in Syracuse’s offense is how deep they are. Eight Orange players have 20+ goals this season and three of them have 50+ goals (Meaghan Tyrell, her sister Emma Tyrell, and Megan Carney). Their shot perecentage is off the charts because of how diverse their offense can be and how skilled all of their players are. It’s virtually impossible to hone in on one major threat and take them out of the game without someone else stepping up to carry the offensive load. A true 3-headed beast.
The Syracuse defense is where BC will have the opportunity to win. The Orange have a solid scoring D (22nd overall) but it is definitely not the strongest aspect of their game. Boston College upset them earlier this year by scoring 7 goals in the fourth quarter and racking up 17 total goals to out score SU’s 16. BC has the best shot to win this game if they can score early and score often, because Cuse may start to run away with the game if the Eagles get a slow start.
National Championship Game Preview
If Boston College advances past Syracuse in the semifinal, they will face either #1 Northwestern or #5 Denver in the national championship game. Even though neither team is in the ACC, BC actually played both Northwestern and Denver in the 2023 regular season. They lost by a razor-thin margin to #1 Northwestern back in February, 15-14 in Evanston, IL. And Denver was the last team that defeated Boston College, 13-8 down in Jacksonville, FL back in March.
Where: WakeMed Soccer Park, Cary, NC
When: Sunday May 28th
Kickoff Time: 12pm ET
How to Watch: The title game will be broadcasted on ESPN and can be streamed on the ESPN app
Northwestern is quite the force to be reckoned with. They dropped their opening game of 2023 to Syracuse, 16-15, then proceeded to win 19 straight. The Wildcats are led by the nation’s highest scorer, Izzy Scane, who averages nearly 5 goals per game. Their offense is the highest scoring in all of the NCAA at 17 goals per game. And their defense isn’t far behind, allowing just over 9 goals per game, making them the 12th-best scoring defense in the NCAA. BC will once again need a masterclass from goaltender Shea Dolce and the rest of the defense in order to take down Northwestern, who are this year’s heavy favorites.
Only one loss you say? #5 Denver doesn’t even have a blemish on their resume. The Pioneers are 22-0 this season with wins over BC, Maryland, Michigan, and plenty of others. The committee doesn’t look too kindly upon their strength-of-schedule, but that hasn’t stopped DU from plowing through the NCAA tournament and upsetting defending national champions UNC to reach the 2023 Final Four in an exciting 5-4 slugfest. Denver boasts the #1 scoring defense in the nation, allowing a measly 5.8 goals per game and racking up 12+ saves per game. Sophomore goaltender Emelia Bohi has the 5th-best save% in the nation and has helped stifle some of the best offenses in college lacrosse. Denver’s offense can be a bit lackluster at times and their highly-defensive play often leads to close games, but it’s clearly worked out just fine for them so far. A final match-up with Denver would be a grueling, gritty affair and a chance to really prove just how clutch these Eagles can be.
No matter the result this weekend, Boston College women’s lacrosse has proved themselves to be a truly elite program capable of competing nationally in any given year with any number of incredible players. Head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein has already proved herself as one of the greatest to ever coach on the Heights, and another national title would only further cement her legacy. These games are a must-watch for BC fans everywhere who want to see a successful Boston College team full of dedicated, hard-working Eagles accomplish what few have before in the school’s history.