Lacrosse, Spring, Sports

Eagles Break Through Lockdown Denver Defense, Advance to NCAA Quarterfinals

Sydney Scales has been a staple of Boston College lacrosse’s defense for two years, making the All-ACC Freshman Team after helping BC to its 2021 National Championship victory. This season, the sophomore has given up two total turnovers, once again anchoring BC’s back line. But after rolling her ankle in BC’s ACC title game loss to North Carolina, Scales was missing from the lineup for the first time in her college lacrosse career. 

In her absence, Sophia Taglich took over on defense, making just her third start of the season in BC’s NCAA Tournament second-round game against Denver. Early in the first quarter, she gave up a turnover, leaving Denver’s Bea Behrins wide open to score Denver’s first goal of the game. 

Despite No. 3 BC turning over the ball 22 times over the course of the game, the Eagles (17–3, 6–2 Atlantic Coast) took down Denver (18–3, 5–0 Big East), winning 13–8 to earn their fifth straight trip to the NCAA quarterfinals. BC returned to the Newton lacrosse field for Sunday’s game after playing most of its home games this season in Alumni Stadium or Fish Field House.

“It’s so rowdy and energetic, and there are so many BC fans here,” BC head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein said after the game. “They really made it a special game day for us.”

Denver entered the contest allowing an average of 8.15 goals per game, good for fifth in the nation in scoring defense. But by halftime, BC had nearly surpassed that total, heading into the break ahead 8–5. 

Still, Denver’s defense lived up to its past success, forcing double-digit BC turnovers and slowing down an electric BC offense averaging 17.21 goals per game entering the contest. 

Charlotte North accounted for three of those first-half goals, and she finished the game with four. Her first goal of the game broke Courtney Murphy’s NCAA career goals record, as North scored No. 342 under two minutes into the game after tying the record during the ACC Championship. 

After the game, North and goaltender Rachel Hall—longtime roommates and friends—both said that the milestone wasn’t even on their radar. 

“Goals don’t come without everyone else around me doing their job and making my job easy,” North said. “I say it a lot, but I am playing with the most talented players, top to bottom, on this field.”

Even without Scales, BC’s defense held Denver to long possessions and forced five turnovers. Hall was integral to that success, registering eight saves, good for her fourth game this season with eight or more saves. 

“It’s coming down to the wire,” Hall said. “We want to play as many games as we can together, and whatever I can do to get my team to where we want to be, that’s what I want to do.”

Early in the second half, Jenn Medjid appeared to score, but Denver players discovered the ball stuck in the side netting outside the goal. Without video review capacities on the field, officials called it a goal, but replay showed that the ball had never entered the net. Still, the goal stood, and BC led 9–5 with 12:11 to go in the third quarter.

After going scoreless for the first time since 2019 during BC’s last game, Medjid finished with three goals and an assist. 

Behrins, a fifth-year, finished the game leading the Pioneers with three goals and two assists. Neither of Denver’s two goalies made a save in the contest. 

BC will face No.6-seed Loyola Maryland in the NCAA quarterfinals. 

“I will never take this for granted,” Walker-Weinstein said. “I told the girls, ‘This is an amazing thing, going to the Elite Eight.’ They are one step further.”

May 17, 2022