Sports, Spring, Lacrosse

No. 3-Seed BC Defeats No. 2-Seed Notre Dame 9–7 to Advance to 2024 ACC Tournament Championship

With around 4:00 left in the third quarter of No. 3-seed Boston College lacrosse and No. 2-seed Notre Dame’s ACC Tournament Semifinal matchup, the intensity in the tilt was taken to another level. 

After conceding a goal on a free position opportunity with 4:04 left in the frame, Notre Dame answered with a free position goal of their own just over two minutes later to make it a 6–5 game.The Irish then drew a penalty on their very next possession and were set up with a chance to tie the game and swing the momentum in their favor as the clock wound down. 

Mary Kelly Doherty broke towards the BC goal but her shot was blocked by BC’s goalkeeper, Shea Dolce. Dolce prompt passed ahead and the BC offense sprinted downfield with less than a minute left. 

Emma LoPinto only needed a screen from her teammate to separate herself from her defender and curl around the goal to pocket her second goal of her eventual hat trick with eight seconds left in the quarter to extend BC’s lead to two goals heading into the final 15 minutes.

“Regardless of the score or the defense, we have one goal, it’s always giving the offense the ball we take each possession … one possession at a time,” Sydney Scales said. “We’re really just trying to do our job in that one possession, give the offense the ball and giving them an opportunity to score.”

Instead of Notre Dame (15–3, 7–2 Atlantic Coast) taking a tie into the fourth quarter, BC’s (15–3, 7–2) execution on both sides of the ball gave them breathing room to begin the fourth quarter. The Eagles went on to net two more goals to start the fourth quarter, and Notre Dame could not complete a comeback, sending BC back to the ACC Championship with a chance to defend its title from 2023.

BC’s defensive efforts held Notre Dame to its lowest goal total of the year, matching the total from when the Irish downed UNC 7–5 earlier in the season. 

“We sort of shape the game plan around the defense,” BC head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein said. “So today we are looking to be a little bit more of a one v one team and the girls did a great job.”

One of the few blemishes on the Eagles’ defensive efforts was their fourth yellow card that came with 2:18 left in the fourth quarter. 

After holding a 9–5 lead with 13:00 left in regulation, the Irish cut BC’s advantage to two via goals from Madison Ahern and Kathryn Morrisey. The late-game yellow card gave the Irish a non-releasing power play and a chance to mount a comeback on the Eagles. 

But BC killed the power play thanks to a pair of saves from Shea Dolce and closed out the game 9–7.

The Eagles’ offense was led by LoPinto, Belle Smith, and Kayla Martello, who combined for seven of BC’s nine goals.

“It’s really awesome to put the pieces together and it just builds in so much momentum and excitement for Sunday,” Becky Browndorf said. 

On Sunday, the Eagles will face No. 1-seed Syracuse in what will be a 2023 NCAA Semifinals rematch. The game will also provide a rematch of a tilt that took place just over a week ago in Alumni Stadium in which the Eagles downed Syracuse 11–10 in overtime.

“You know, we just played them a week ago,” Browndorf said. “So it’s really good to build off that week, this game, and be prepared for Sunday.”

April 27, 2024