Lacrosse, Spring, Top Story, Sports

BC Falls Short of Repeat Title in 12–11 National Championship Loss to North Carolina 

When Charlotte North transferred from Duke to play for Boston College lacrosse after the 2019 season, she was already regarded as one of the top players in the sport. Now, three years later, North can make a case to be the greatest athlete to ever play women’s college lacrosse. She helped bring a National Championship to the Heights in 2021

North looked to cap off her career by doing it again on Sunday against North Carolina, a team that defeated the Eagles twice already this season, in the 2022 National Championship.

But four goals from North weren’t enough for the Eagles on Sunday. In the two teams’ third meeting of the season and arguably college lacrosse’s biggest rivalry game, North Carolina came out on top once again, and the Tar Heels took down BC 12–11 in the 2022 National Championship, ending the Eagles’ quest to bring home a repeat title to the Heights. 

“North Carolina was amazing, and so were we,” BC head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein said.

Throughout the first quarter of Sunday’s game, North Carolina’s defense suffocated BC’s signature lights-out offense. The Tar Heels forced two shot clock violations, and the Eagles struggled to find a rhythm. 

North was the only Eagle to beat Tar Heel netminder Taylor Moreno. She found the net twice in the first quarter to stop the Tar Heels from running away with the game, and she scored twice more throughout the next three quarters. 

“She’s an amazing goalie,” Walker-Weinstein said of Moreno. “I think, unfortunately, they have a lot of X factors, but Taylor was one of them today.”

While Moreno shut down the Eagles’ offense from the start, 80 yards away, BC goaltender Rachel Hall failed to stop any of North Carolina’s five shots on net in the first quarter, and North Carolina led 5–2 after the first 15 minutes. 

Hall redeemed herself on the first shot of the second quarter, though, stopping a free-position shot from Tewaaraton finalist Jamie Ortega. She made another clutch save with 90 seconds left in the half to set up a goal from Cassidy Weeks, the hero from Friday’s semifinal, cutting the Tar Heels’ lead down to 7–5 going into halftime.

“[Weeks] has [had] this drive and commitment to the sport since she was a little girl, and I’m just happy that on this stage she was able to kind of showcase that and get a little bit of the spotlight because hard-working players like that deserve it,” Walker-Weinstein said.

With under five minutes to play in the third quarter, Hall made a clutch save in transition and sent a precision pass to the midfield stripe that hit Belle Smith in stride, and Smith dished it to North. 

Caught off guard, North Carolina All-American defender Emma Trenchard swung her stick to try to force a turnover but hit the North, the all-time NCAA goal leader square on the head. North then converted her first free-position opportunity of the game to tie it up at seven apiece with 4:31 to play in the third. 

Hall then made another save, her fourth of the quarter, and North connected on a shot that bounced right past Moreno to give BC an 8–7 lead—its first of the game—with just over two minutes left in the quarter.

The teams traded goals throughout the rest of the third quarter and the first 12 minutes of the fourth quarter. With North Carolina leading 11–10, Scottie Rose Growney found the top corner to stretch the Tar Heels’ lead to two with 2:23 left to play. 

North Carolina won the ensuing faceoff to put what looked to be the dagger in the Eagles’ hopes, but Melanie Welch forced a turnover from Tar Heel Andie Aldave to keep BC’s drive alive. Weeks scored with 15 seconds left to play for her second last-second goal in as many games, but the Eagles failed to secure the ensuing faceoff. 

North Carolina tossed the ball downfield, securing its third win over the Eagles this year, an undefeated season, and the National Championship.

“Carolina adapted really well to the different changes that we had,” Walker-Weinstein said. “I just think we needed to make a few more plays there at the end.”

While the Eagles failed to defend their title, Sunday’s game demonstrated the growth women’s lacrosse has undergone in recent years, largely due to the success of North, Walker-Weinstein, and the rest of BC’s squad. 

A sold-out crowd of 8,500 fans packed the stands at Homewood Field for Sunday’s game, the first women’s lacrosse title game to ever be played on ESPN. Many fans donned BC’s signature neon shirts, and a number of young girls lined the fence around the field chanting North’s name. 

“The game is in a great place, and it’s only growing more,” she said.

May 29, 2022