Sports, Spring, Lacrosse

Urbank and North Shine in BC Sweep of Notre Dame

Two years ago, almost to the day, Boston College lacrosse hosted its Senior Day, capping off an undefeated regular season and honoring a dominant group of seniors with a win over Louisville. Fast forward one year, and instead of competing one last time in Alumni Stadium, BC’s seniors were at home, sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fast forward one year further, and the No. 5 Eagles (11-, 7-1 Atlantic Coast) had a shot at redemption. Not redemption for the loss of a game, but for the loss of a season. The NCAA awarded an extra year of eligibility to all spring sports athletes as a result of last season’s early conclusion. Though not all of BC’s seniors opted to cash in on that deal, the Eagles honored two groups of seniors in an 18-12 win over No. 4 Notre Dame (6-5, 3-5) on Saturday. 

Attacker Cara Urbank and defender Jillian Reilly were BC’s only two 2020 graduates who opted to return for another year, but BC honored both them and three other 2020 seniors—Sheila Rietano, Morgan Tedeschi, and Kate Taylor—after Saturday’s win. Also in on the celebrations were eight of BC’s current seniors, including Charlotte North. 

Urbank and North have been BC’s one-two punch on the attacking end all season. The same was true on Saturday, as the duo combined for 10 of BC’s 18 goals. North found the net six times to lead the Eagles, and Urbank added four. Urbank also tacked on a team-high two assists.

The game followed a strikingly similar pattern to BC’s earlier matchup with Notre Dame on Thursday, including a nearly mirror-image final score. In each game, a Weeks sister opened the scoring: on Thursday it was Courtney, and on Saturday it was Cassidy. 

Cassidy Weeks’ opening goal came just over a minute into the contest and set the tone for BC’s fast-paced, relentless offense. The Eagles followed her tally with four unanswered goals to rack up an early, seemingly insurmountable lead that never went away. 

BC went on another four-goal run in the later minutes of the first half and held Notre Dame nearly silent through 30 minutes, so the Eagles headed to the locker room after one half with a commanding 9-3 lead.

The certain loss of Urbank and the potential loss of North after this season—though North still has one year of eligibility remaining—seems daunting, but BC’s underclassmen are packed with talent, which was on full display on Saturday.

After North and Urbank, junior Cassidy Weeks recorded two goals, her redshirt sophomore sister Courtney had three goals, and sophomore Annie Walsh and freshman Belle Smith each netted one.

Up to this point in the season, Smith has recorded 30 goals in just 12 games—the third most on the team—even without starting a single contest. Though her impact didn’t show up on the stat sheet as much on Saturday as it usually does, Smith was a force to be reckoned with on the defensive end, causing turnovers and shutting down the Fighting Irish’s hopes for a comeback.

Notre Dame began to show signs of life in the second half. Though the Eagles dominated through the first 30 minutes, the Fighting Irish looked like a new team coming out of halftime. Urbank netted the first goal of the second half, but Notre Dame followed her with three unanswered goals, two of which came from Madison Ahern. 

After 10 minutes of the second half, Notre Dame had cut its deficit to 12-6.

BC responded with three of its own to retake a nine-point lead, and from then on, the teams went practically goal-for-goal. 

Senior goaltender Abbey Ngai came in for the final four minutes of the contest, along with a number of her fellow seniors off the bench. Ngai allowed three goals, one of which came as the horn sounded and BC’s win was already beyond doubt. 

Ngai has seen severely diminished playing time since leading the Eagles to a National Championship Title Game in 2019 with the arrival of Rachel Hall. Hall, in net for the majority of the contest, finished with seven saves. 

It’s unclear what the future holds for most of BC’s seniors—whether or not they will return for one final season on the field—but one thing’s for certain: after an eight-game win streak, four of which came over opponents ranked in the top 10, BC has a full head of steam for the final leg of the regular season with no signs of slowing down.

Featured Image by Jess Rivilis / Heights Senior Staff

April 18, 2021