Sports, Lacrosse, Spring, Top Story

Eagles Go Back-to-Back, Defeat Syracuse 15–8 in ACC Tournament Championship

Before the start of the season, Boston College lacrosse head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein made her goals crystal clear.

“The expectation is to win another conference championship and national championship,” Walker-Weinstein said.

Now, step one is complete with the Eagles winning back-to-back ACC titles behind a four-goal first-half comeback.

The Eagles (16–3, 7–2 Atlantic Coast) withstood an early push from Syracuse (14–5, 8–1) before scoring 10 of the last 11 goals to beat the Orange 15–8 on Sunday afternoon in Charlotte, N.C.

“Obviously you don’t want to go down,” Kayla Martello said. “But being able to come back from that and then winning back to back is an amazing feeling. And we’re just so proud.”

The Orange struck quickly, with Natalie Smith firing it past Shea Dolce just 13 seconds into the game. After Mckenna Davis tied it, Olivia Adamson answered quickly with a low shot from distance, giving the Orange a 2–1 lead.

After Savannah Sweitzer added a third goal for the Orange, Emma LoPinto scored on a behind-the-back shot, but the goal was eventually overturned for a dangerous follow-through by LoPinto.

BC found trouble breaking down Syracuse’s zone early and with the Orange limiting BC’s possessions, the Eagles only managed six shots in the first quarter.

“Coming out in the first quarter was, a little bit, not like the start that we wanted,” Davis said. “But, being able to get in a groove and connect, really helped us out.”

Adamson and Emma Ward added two more for the Orange, but a goal on a free-position shot from Rachel Clark, a transition goal from LoPinto, and a huge save from Dolce cut the Orange’s lead to two at the end of the first quarter.

The Eagles continued to push the pace in transition in the second frame, with Clark flying down the field and finding LoPinto, who passed it across the crease for Davis, who scored.

“We two had transition goals that were great,” Martello said. “But then [Walker-Weinstein] brought us in and said like those goals are great, you got the momentum, and now we’re looking for layups.”

BC’s defense settled down after the early push from Syracuse with stronger marking, active sticks, and getting back to their strengths, according to Sydney Scales.

“Focusing on just getting back to those basics which were one v. ones and communication, and once we did that everything else fell into place,” Scales said.

Martello tied the game at 5–5 after receiving a pass from Davis while cutting through the middle. But the Orange restored its one-goal lead when Emma Tyrrell shoveled a shot past Dolce even while surrounded by BC defenders.

The Orange added another just 36 seconds later to give Syracuse a 7–5 lead.

In the biggest sequence of the game, Dolce made a save, before shifting and making another one directly after. Then, Scales dove for a loose ball to give the Eagles possession. On that ensuing possession, Martello cut the Eagles’ deficit back down to one goal.

“I got the first save and then just reacted to the second,” Dolce said. “And thank God for my good friend Sydney, who dove for the ground ball and got the momentum.”

LoPinto tied it at 7–7 going into halftime with a double misdirection behind the net which spun Bianca Chevarie and allowed her to roll to the front and slip the ball over Sweitzer’s head.

The third quarter started with multiple strong defensive stands from both teams as they forced high shots and caused turnovers.

The Eagles struck first in the second half with Martello scoring after a strong individual effort from Scales, who broke up a pass before pushing it quickly down the field to set up the offense in transition.

“We talked about it at halftime, coming out with momentum and not letting them have a breath, and I think we executed that well,” Scales said.

After Andrea Reynolds passed out of a free position, Belle Smith scored by firing a shot off the post, which bounced off Sweitzer and into the net. Martello added her fourth goal of the day to give the Eagles a 10–7 lead going into the final frame.

The Eagles defense held the Orange scoreless throughout the entire third quarter and, since the 5:30 mark of the second.

Martello scored back-to-back goals, after Ward got one back for the Orange, to bring the score to 12–8, giving her a career-high six goals on just six shots.

“In my last game against Syracuse I had some where I hit Delaney,” Martello said. “In this game, I found myself taking an extra second and putting it around [Sweitzer].”

Cassidy Weeks then put the game away for the Eagles, winning the draw control and rolling around through the middle before firing the ball past Sweitzer.

LoPinto and Molly Driscoll added two more goals for the Eagles while their defense continued to lock down the Orange, en route to a 15–8 win and a second straight ACC championship.

“I think one of the gifts of the team is that they play for each other,” Walker-Weinstein said. “They’re not playing individually or for individual goals, they’re playing for each other.”

Now, the Eagles look ahead to the NCAA Tournament selection show and shift focus toward lifting a second trophy this year.

“Once we get back to practice next week, we’re kind of closing this chapter,” Scales said. “We’re onto the next, taking it each game at a time, and not taking anything for granted.”

April 28, 2024