Sports, Spring, Lacrosse

Eagles Defeat Syracuse 8–7 to Claim Sixth Straight National Championship Appearance

ACC Tournament Champions, ACC Regular Season Co-Champions, four of the six ACC Awards, and an NCAA Semifinals appearance. Those are just a few of the accolades that No. 3 Boston College lacrosse has racked up over its 2023 season entering Friday’s contest. 

And on Friday night in Cary, N.C., the Eagles added another accolade—a sixth straight National Championship appearance. 

Led by Jenn Medjid, the rock of BC’s offense, the No. 3-seeded Eagles (19–3, 8–1 Atlantic Coast) notched three goals in the fourth quarter alone while holding No. 2-seeded Syracuse (18–3, 8–1) scoreless to win 8–7, bringing them even closer to another National Champion trophy in three years. 

“But ultimately, the goal is to win a national championship and we have a lot of work to do in about a day and a half,” BC head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein said. “I know the girls, I know they’ll do what it takes and we’ll be ready to go.” 

BC entered the final quarter of the affair trailing 7–5, and did not hold a lead in the game until 3:31 was left in the game. 

“I just knew that once we were going to tie it, we’re gonna win the whole thing, and they we’re gonna make the stops they needed to make, and we’re gonna score the game winning goal, and I knew that we’re gonna win it,” Jenn Medjid said.

Those seven goals also marked the lowest that Syracuse has scored all season. 

“Defense wins championships, and our defensive performance today was out of this world, I would say,” Walker-Weinstein said. “But, you know, in terms of the stats, it doesn’t always reflect what happens in the end of the game because I do think there’s a component that our girls have that’s not measured on a stat sheet. It’s composure and belief in themselves.”

It took less than a minute for the Eagles to be on the trailing end as a ball from the Orange slipped past freshman goalkeeper Shea Dolce. By the 10:10 mark, nothing seemed to be going right for BC. The Eagles held the ball for just one possession before quickly turning it over, while the Orange’s second and third goals flew into the back of the net. 

“My defenders, they have my back and they’re talking to me the whole game,” Dolce said. “They can tell when I’m upset before I am so they were just always there with me throughout the whole first start of the game.”

The barrage stopped when the First Team All-American Medjid broke the shutout with a close-range goal in front of the 2023 Goalkeeper of the Year Delaney Sweitzer to narrow the gap at the 8:44 mark. 

Less than three minutes later, what had once looked like a blowout in the making was turned into a one-goal game when Cassidy Weeks potted a diving score in the Orange’s net with 5:47 left in the first quarter. 

The second quarter started off as a tale of turnovers for both programs. Through the 9:46 mark, there were seven turnovers between both teams. 

This back and forth continued until Andrea Reynolds found herself staring down Sweitzer with an eight-meter opportunity. She lined up her shot and it whizzed by the Orange’s goalkeeper to knot the game 3–3. 

After over 22 minutes of offensive silence from the Orange, it retook the lead after capitalizing on a player-up opportunity to make it 4–3 with just over four minutes left in the second frame. 

With a player-up opportunity of her own just moments later, it was none other than Medjid who knotted the game at four goals apiece for the Eagles. 

Despite the tied score at the end of the first half, the Orange outshot BC 12–4 in the first quarter, and 15–9 in the first half. Meanwhile, Dolce recorded five saves to Sweitzer’s one.

“The leadership on the defensive end, starting with Shea, is incredible,” Walker-Weinstein said. “And I’m so proud of her as a freshman. It’s remarkable what she’s doing as a leader, and I’m really proud of the girls.” 

But the Orange created a two-goal lead with just over five minutes remaining in the third period, while its defense locked up the Eagles. 

It wasn’t until BC found Medjid again for an over-the-shoulder score at the 3:28 mark that the Eagles would break their scoreless second half. But just over two minutes later, a Syracuse bounce shot between the legs of Dolce reclaimed its two-goal lead at 7–5 which the Orange held entering the final quarter of play.

The Eagles have been a fourth quarter team all year, and that did not change in this contest. Medjid, who had already notched a hattrick, continued her dominance with back-to-back goals to knot the game 7–7 with 9:12 left to play in the game. 

“I saw that I was finishing well,” Medjid said. “So I just needed to keep shooting and I think I need to step up as a player and a leader for my team when we needed it.”

With just 3:31 left to play, Kayla Martello lined up for the eight-meter shot and bounced the ball between Sweitzer’s legs to give the Eagles their first and only lead of the contest. BC did not give Syracuse another inch for the remainder of the game, and advanced to the National Championship game. 

“We have to find a way to be better in one day,” Walker-Weinstein said. “We can’t be the same. We have to improve in some way whether that’s mentally, physically. I trust the preparation. I trust that these guys will do everything they need to do to be ready to go for Sunday, and the preparation starts now.”

May 27, 2023