On Sunday afternoon, Boston College women’s lacrosse faced off against #1 Northwestern in the 2023 national championship game on a rainy day in Cary, NC. Boston College won a thrilling match over #2 Syracuse on Friday that saw them comeback in the 4th quarter to win by one goal and secure their place in this title game. Northwestern’s dominant offense took care of business against #5 Denver on Friday as they scored 15 goals on the nation’s #1 defense. The national title game on Sunday was a dominant match that ended with Northwestern taking home the title, 18-6.
Northwestern was dominant on free positions early, drawing four in their first four possessions, converting two of them for the early 2-0 lead. Boston College turned the ball over left and right and couldn’t even get shots off because of errant passes and bobbled balls, but their defense stepped up to the plate in this big moment and held NU to just those two free position goals for most of the first quarter until NU made it 3-0 with under a minute left.
After another few turnovers from both squads in the second quarter, Kayla Martello finally got Boston College on the board with an impressive shot away from the goal. Belle Smith followed it up with a goal of her own on the following possession to bring the Eagles back to within one score. Northwestern was able to go a player up when Hunter Roman made contact with the head of an NU attacker, but multiple missed shots were capped off by a stuff from Shea Dolce to get BC out of trouble. But a turnover in transition led to an easy Wildcats goal to make it 4-2, which was followed by great offense from Izzy Scane, who scored twice in a row to make it 6-2 by halftime.
The Northwestern offense found an immediate groove in the second half, scoring back-to-back on the first two possessions to extend their lead to 8-2 after just 3 minutes and winning 6-straight draw controls. It could have been even worse early if it weren’t for BC’s freshman goaltender Shea Dolce, who made a couple of very timely saves. Kayla Martello got BC back on the board to make it 8-3, but a prolonged series of bad BC turnovers and lost draw controls stunted any form of an Eagles comeback as Northwestern kept converting to make it 11-3 nearing the end of the 3rd quarter. Despite how well Shea Dolce and the Boston College defense was playing, they were given absolutely no chance to succeed with the amount of possessions the BC offense was giving back to Northwestern through turnovers and lost draw controls. Belle Smith scored at the end of the 3rd quarter to make it an 11-4 Wildcats lead.
A Dolce foul early in the 4th quarter allowed Northwestern to score an empty-netter to increase their lead to 12-4 within the first minute, which was quickly followed by a Cassidy Weeks yellow card and then another Hunter Roman yellow card. BC played incredibly sloppy in an attempt to get back into the game instead of playing with the intensity and discipline that is required to make a historic comeback. Izzy Scane and the Wildcats had no problem closing the Eagles out, winning the 2023 national championship by a score of 18-6.
For the fifth time in six years, Boston College has fallen short in the national title game. A loss like this is always an extremely disappointing moment, especially when the team has been in this spot so many times before. It’s a reminder just how special that 2021 national championship is after they launched a stellar comeback in the semifinal against rival UNC and closed it out against Maryland. Despite the loss today, fans will still hold a deep appreciation for what this 2023 team has done. From their multiple last minute comebacks to their first ever ACC title, head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein and the entire program have built something to be proud of. They have a ton of talented young players who are sure to make a serious run in 2024 at a 7th-straight title game, hopefully ending with a second national title. Thank you, Eagles!