Sports, Spring, Lacrosse

Emma LoPinto Leads No. 4 BC to an 18–12 Win Over No. 13 Tar Heels

In Boston College lacrosse’s last matchup against North Carolina, the then—No. 4 Eagles won its first ACC Championship in program history to the then—No. 6 Tar Heels 11–9. 

Saturday afternoon’s game in Alumni Stadium told a similar story. 

Wearing their pink jerseys for the Pink Game for Youth Day, the No. 4 Eagles (10–2, 5–1 Atlantic Coast) defeated No. 13 North Carolina (7–5, 3–3) 18–12 in Saturday’s showdown. 

“Yeah, it felt great,” Shea Dolce said. “I mean we’ve been waiting for a game like this. We’re playing on Alumni, it’s a beautiful day. Lots of fans. It was all around amazing.” 

In BC’s highest ranked win of the season, the Eagles capitalized off Dolce saves and a dominant offensive performance. 

“I thought the midfielders were really strong today,” BC head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein said. “Emma LoPinto had such a good game. Shea Dolce had some incredible saves. I think our defense had some great turnovers, some really steady plans, and I’m happy with them.” 

Within the first minutes of the first frame, the Tar Heels held a two-goal lead over BC. It wasn’t until a free position shot with eight minutes left to play in the quarter when Kayla Martello launched the ball into the North Carolina cage that put BC on the board for the first time in the game. 

Less than two minutes later, UNC’s Darcy Felter responded with a goal to bring the Tar Heels to a 3–1 lead over the Eagles. 

But BC persisted in the first frame. With 4:41 left to play in the first quarter, LoPinto cradled the ball while juking her defender and fired the ball into North Carolina’s net—marking her 27th goal of the season. 

Less than two minutes later, LoPinto repeated by scoring another goal for the Eagles off a McKenna Davis assist to tie the game 3–3.

But the LoPinto show was not over. With 10 seconds left to play in the first quarter, LoPinto received a pass from Andrea Reyolds and hammered a shot past North Carolina’s Stella Harrison, bringing the Eagles to a 4–3 lead over the Tar Heels. 

From then on, BC maintained the lead for the remainder of the game.

“I think we came out today and we just trusted each other,” LoPinto said. “It was so much fun. I think it’s obviously a huge win, and we just have to keep climbing.” 

In the second frame, North Carolina inched closer to a comeback as it limited BC from dominating possession completely. 

The Tar Heels tallied two goals in the second quarter while the Eagles delivered four goals—two of which were Davis goals, another LoPinto goal, and a Martello goal. 

BC concluded the first half with a 8–5 lead over the Tar Heels. And the best of BC’s offense had yet to come. 

In the third quarter, BC tallied five goals compared to four from North Carolina. As for Dolce, she came up with three game-changing saves while the Tar Heels’ Harrison failed to make a stop in net. 

“I think the team prepared harder than they have ever prepared,” Walker-Weinstein said. “Our scout groups were beating our starters all week long, and it created this incredibly intense practice environment, which allowed us to compete at a high level.” 

The defining play of the third frame came with one second left. After being fouled, LoPinto stood at the arc for a free-position shot. In hopes of scoring her sixth goal of the matchup and bringing the Eagles to a four-goal lead going into the final quarter, LoPinto fired the ball. 

Sailing past Harrison the ball swished into the upper left hand corner of the net as a sea of pink and white jerseys surrounded LoPinto in celebration. 

“Emma knew what to do and just had great placement and a lot of velocity,” Walker-Weinstein said. “She put it away, and it gave us a lot of momentum going into the next quarter.”

While Walker-Weinstein was less impressed with the Eagles’ fourth quarter performance, the team managed to tally five goals and limit the Tar Heels to three in the final minutes of the contest. 

“I wasn’t happy with the fourth quarter,” Walker-Weinstein said. “I think we should have played, you know, stronger with more control managing the clock. Offensively and defensively we took a step back. So I think we’re going to take a really close look at that fourth quarter.”

Despite the last few minutes of play, the Eagles walked away with a 18–12 victory.

“Every week we’ve taken steps in the right direction,” Walker-Weinstein said. “I think it’s only gonna get harder. So if my girls can stay on that path, then hopefully we keep getting better for the next opponent.” 

March 31, 2024

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