Sports, Top Story, Spring, Lacrosse

BC Books Final Four Trip With Win Over Notre Dame

Boston College lacrosse has not lost a game on the Newton Campus Lacrosse & Soccer Field since 2017. For 1,505 days, the Eagles have defended their home turf with the ferocity of a national powerhouse—which BC has proven itself to be. The year 2017 was not just the start of that streak, but also the start of BC’s streak of Final Four appearances. 

Against Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament, BC tacked one more game onto each of those streaks. For the fourth straight year, BC (16-3) is on its way to the Final Four thanks to eight goals from Charlotte North and a 21-10 win over the Fighting Irish (11-7). 

This season for BC isn’t just about continuing tradition, however. For North, it’s about going beyond those who came before her, as she proved with a record-breaking performance on Saturday. For the second time in this year’s NCAA Tournament, North finished with eight goals, tying the national record for goals in an NCAA Tournament game. 

North also broke the record for total goals in an NCAA Tournament set by former Eagle Kenzie Kent. Plus, she tied the BC program record for goals in a single season set by former Eagle and current assistant coach Sam Apuzzo in 2017—the year Apuzzo won the Tewaaraton Award, an honor for which North is currently a finalist. 

Even before her record-breaking performance against Notre Dame, North had the highest statistical chance to win the Tewaaraton according to LacrosseReference.com, and Saturday’s game only further proved her standing on the national stage.

Though North, in her typical fashion, was the star of the show for BC, the Eagles’ supporting cast—if it could even be called that given each individual’s star power on the field—was instrumental in the win. 

Within the first four minutes of the game, ACC Freshman of the Year Belle Smith had already recorded a hat trick. Smith, also an Inside Lacrosse Third-Team All-American, finished with three goals, an assist, two ground balls, and a caused turnover. Jenn Medjid tacked on five goals, and five other players had one each.

Where BC truly outshined the Fighting Irish was from the draw control. Of 30 draws—mostly taken by North—the Eagles controlled 22, setting up chance after chance in their offensive zone. 

After Notre Dame logged the first goal of the game, Smith responded immediately with her hat trick all in a row, and BC seemed to put on cruise control from there. The pattern of draw controls feeding immediately into scores continued for much of the first half, as BC jumped out to a 6-2 lead.

Out of the first media timeout, Notre Dame suddenly began to hit the gas. Whether it was Bridget Deehan’s play in net for the Irish—the goaltender finished with 10 saves on the afternoon—or Notre Dame’s 10 caused turnovers, the Eagles began to struggle to find the back of the net. 

The Fighting Irish capitalized on BC’s suddenly sluggish play, clawing back within three by halftime. Had Medjid not scored with less than a second on the first-half clock, the momentum going into the locker room would have been all in Notre Dame’s favor. 

Instead, BC came out of halftime looking like the version of itself from 20 minutes prior. 

North, in particular, was firing on all cylinders. Six of her eight goals came in the second half, and she scored all six in a remarkably similar fashion. Each time, she deftly wrapped around Deehan’s right post with a defender face guarding her. Three of those times, she took one stutter step, dropped her stick to waist level, and rocketed a shot that hit the net before Deehan even saw it leave North’s stick. 

On two of the other three goals, she took the same approach, wrapping around from behind the net, but instead of sneaking a low-angle shot in, she faked low and deposited the ball over a diving Deehan.

The second half wasn’t all North, though. Off a draw control, defender Sydney Scales, a member of the All-ACC Freshman Team, took the ball straight down the field from the midline and dropped it off to Medjid, who scored from the bottom corner of the crease, earning Scales her first career point with an assist.

With their third straight win featuring a margin of victory so wide it required a running clock, the Eagles live to see another day. Awaiting them in Baltimore for the Final Four is undefeated No. 1 North Carolina, which narrowly survived an upset bid from Stony Brook on Saturday. 

With more records to break—and three straight National Championship losses to avenge—all eyes are on North and the Eagles to do what no team has done this year and take down the Tar Heels.

Featured Image by Jess Rivilis / Heights Senior Staff

May 22, 2021

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