Headlined by perennial national title contenders like No. 4 Boston College lacrosse and No. 1 North Carolina, the ACC consistently boasts multiple top-25 teams each year. And just 10 games into the 2023 season, Clemson has already joined those ranks.
The Tigers knocked off then-No. 10 Duke last Saturday to enter their matchup against BC on Thursday afternoon as the nation’s No. 24 team.
Although Clemson (7–3, 1–2 Atlantic Coast) held its own for much of Thursday’s game—pulling within three goals going into the final quarter—the Eagles’ offensive firepower propelled BC (6–2, 3–1) to a decisive 17–10 win.
“I thought they were gonna be aggressive, very well-coached, disciplined and athletic—and they were all of those things,” BC head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein said. “It was a really great game to play and to compete at a high level with a new ACC team.”
After both teams traded goals in the opening five minutes, Jenn Medjid took the scoring into her own hands, notching three straight goals to put BC ahead 6–3 at the first quarter’s 4:27 mark. Medjid’s first-quarter performance built off her stellar stretch last week against Brown and Louisville, in which she connected on 78.5 percent of shots to win ACC Offensive Player of the Week.
“I think she just picked her spots really well,” Walker-Weinstein said. “She was quarterbacking the entire offense. … And then I think what really got her going is that she was excellent on the eight-meter.”
The Eagles continued their surge into the second quarter, as Mckenna Davis’ 10th goal of the season pushed BC ahead 9–4 at the second quarter’s 10:14 mark.
Following Davis’ goal, Clemson head coach Allison Kwolek swapped starting goaltender Emily Lamparter for Krissy Kowalski. Kowalski fared far better in net, finishing the game with a 46.7 percent save rate compared to Lamparter’s 25.0 percent.
With Kowalski in net, the Tigers slowly chipped away at BC’s lead. A goal from Sofia Chepenik with 35 seconds to play in the first half kept the Tigers in striking range, as they were down 11–6 heading into the second half.
Emma Tilson sparked what turned out to be a strong third quarter for Clemson, kicking off the second-half scoring with a highlight-reel, top-corner goal. Tilson tacked on another goal just over two minutes later, cutting BC’s lead down to 11–8 with 8:04 left to play in the third quarter.
“She’s an incredible player,” Walker-Weinstein said. “I think she’s really smart and she’s a very good shooter. So I think, you know, she was exactly what we thought she was going to be and she’s going to be a tough player to stop.”
Medjid stabilized the Eagles’ play with her fifth goal of the game 6:10 into the third quarter to take a 12–8 advantage. Clemson, however, continued its charge, leveraging strong draw control to attack offensively. After Chepenik struck again in the final minutes of the frame, BC went into the fourth quarter clinging to a three-goal lead.
“We were just turning the ball over way too much, not making good offensive decisions, and that was translating into goals,” Walker-Weinstein said of her team’s third-quarter performance.
But the Eagles quieted the Tigers in the fourth quarter, scoring two goals in the first five minutes.
A Kayla Martello goal with 5:07 left to play gave BC a 15–10 cushion, putting Clemson on the ropes. Annabelle Hasselbeck delivered the final blow with 57 seconds remaining in the game to clinch the 17–10 victory. The win marked freshman goaltender Shea Dolce’s first as a starter.
“She made some incredible point-blank saves, and I’m really proud of her,” Walker-Weinstein said. “This was a big deal for her, and she did an amazing job.”
Despite the dominant final quarter, Walker-Weinstein said she didn’t feel completely satisfied with the win.
“I think we had too many mental lapses today,” Walker-Weinstein said. “And I think if we’re not careful that, you know, it’ll really catch up to us. So we’re just looking for a stronger start and a full 60-minute game.”