Sports, Spring, Lacrosse

BC Comes up Short Against Syracuse in ACC Tournament Semifinals

As the adage goes, if you don’t learn from history, it’ll repeat itself. Apparently, Syracuse has been studying up. 

Boston College lacrosse surged in the second half of the teams’ first meeting of the season to take home a last-second win, but when the Eagles met the Orange in the ACC Tournament Semifinals on Friday, Syracuse had learned its lesson.

After trailing 11-6 to the Orange at halftime, BC mounted a furious comeback, scoring seven unanswered goals to take its first lead since Charlotte North started the game with a goal 36 seconds in. But unlike the Eagles’ first meeting with Syracuse, they couldn’t finish it off in the final minutes, falling 19-17 to drop from the ACC Tournament.

The game was a parallel not only to the Eagles’ first meeting with Syracuse of the year, but it also showed a striking resemblance to BC’s ACC Tournament quarterfinal matchup with Virginia. North kicked things off with a quick goal off the draw, but Syracuse potted three straight to take an early lead.

Syracuse was most lethal at the top of the 8-meter arc. Its three-man weave opened up a vast space in front of BC netminder Rachel Hall time after time, leaving Hall to make some acrobatic saves.

Hall and Syracuse netminder Asa Goldstock were almost equally efficient in net, each recording seven saves. The only difference was Syracuse’s shot production. The Orange had just two free-position chances all game, capitalizing on just one, but they put 26 shots on goal. 

The one free-position chance BC denied came from a lockdown defensive job on the part of Courtney Weeks. As Syracuse gunned for Hall, Weeks stretched to full extension to get in the way of a shot, and she grabbed the loose ball to start the Eagles in transition. 

The Orange went on three different three-goal scoring runs in the first half alone, one of which Syracuse capped off with a tally from Emma Tyrrell with just five seconds left on the first-half clock. 

Despite the Eagles’ 11-6 halftime deficit, BC’s offensive production showed the same pattern of dominance that it has all season. Seven different Eagles found the back of the net, and North led the charge with six. Belle Smith followed close behind with five goals.

The majority of those tallies came during BC’s seven-goal run early in the second half. Smith kicked off the run with a jumping grab at the top of the crease for an alley-oop score. She also finished the run with an individual effort to take BC’s first lead since the first minute of the game.

The game went back and forth about as much as it could in the second half, as the two teams were tied at 13, 14, 15, and 17 in a 15-minute span. Smith tied the game up at 17 with 3:18 to go in the game, but Syracuse freshman Emma Ward broke that tie by recording her career-high fifth goal to take the lead at 18-17.

Throughout the game, the Orange had a lot of offensive help from BC’s propensity to foul—an unusual sight for the Eagles. BC committed 28 fouls, resulting in four yellow cards. The Eagles’ fourth and most costly card came with under two minutes to go in the game, as officials whistled Hollie Schleicher, giving Syracuse a non-releasable penalty while the Orange already led by one.

Syracuse tacked on an insurance goal on BC’s empty net, sending the Eagles packing.

Still, the BC season is far from over. After spending the majority of the season inside the national top five, BC is all but guaranteed a bid to the NCAA Tournament in May. After three straight losses in the National Championship, and now a loss in the conference semifinals, the Eagles have a lot to prove.

Featured Image by Kristian Lamarre / Height Staff

May 1, 2021