Sports, Spring, Lacrosse

Previewing the Eagles’ Path to a Potential Seventh Straight National Championship Appearance

Coming off its second straight ACC Championship, Boston College lacrosse now turns its attention to getting back to the NCAA Championship, hoping to make an appearance on that stage for the seventh straight time.

The Eagles earned the No. 2 seed in the tournament, earning a bye in the first round and will play host to the winner of a first-round matchup between Princeton and Drexel on May 12 at 12:00 p.m. at Alumni Stadium.

Princeton (10–6, 6–1 Ivy League) finished the regular season second in the Ivy League before losing to Pennsylvania in the Ivy League Tournament. 

Drexel (13–5, 7–1 Coastal Athletic Association) received the tournament’s final at-large bid after finishing second in its conference tournament. The Dragons lost to Stony Brook 9–6 in the finals of their conference tournament. 

Princeton will likely enter the game as favorites, with big wins over then-No. 22 Penn State and then-No. 7 UPenn, and close losses to No. 5-seed Virginia and No. 4-seed Maryland. Drexel is still a legitimate threat, however, with big wins over then-No. 25 Penn State and then-No. 16 Navy to help its chances of reaching the tournament.

Either team should prove to be a good test for the Eagles’ offense in their first game of the tournament. Both Drexel’s Jenika Cuocco and Princeton’s Amelia Hughes earned their conference’s goalkeeper of the year awards.

The Eagles will need to make sure they operate as a cohesive unit on the offensive end while continuing their strong defensive play throughout the season, to avoid an upset on May 12. 

Continuing on the potential path for the Eagles to reach the national championship, their most likely opponent in the regional semifinals would be No. 7-seed Notre Dame (15–3, 7–2 Atlantic Coast). The Irish need to get past Coastal Carolina, and the winner of Michigan and Mercer before a potential rematch of the 2024 ACC semifinals.

This would be the biggest test for the Eagles before the semifinals if both teams were to get there. The two played a tightly-locked defensive game on April 26 that ended 9–7 in BC’s favor with the Eagles only taking control of the game at the start of the fourth quarter. 

The Irish won the regular season matchup against the Eagles 15–14, so if the two were to meet in the quarterfinals it is bound to be a close back-and-forth game. 

If the Eagles were to advance to the semifinals, the road to the championship game would likely have to go through Syracuse once again. BC has won two thrilling games against the Orange this year, with its 15–8 win in the ACC Championship and an 11–10 overtime win in the final game of the regular season. 

The Orange’s most likely matchup if it makes the quarterfinals is No. 6-seed Yale, but it will first have to get through the winner of Stony Brook and Niagara. Then-No. 12 Stony Brook pulled off a huge upset of the Orange in a 13–12 overtime win early in the season, so the Eagles will look to see if Stony Brook can again knock off one of their biggest rivals early in the tournament. 

If the Eagles win through, they will reach their seventh straight NCAA Championship game.

Their most likely matchup in this game would be the program that has had their number as of late: No. 1-seed Northwestern.The Wildcats won the 2024 Big Ten Championship with close wins over then-No. 12 Johns Hopkins and then-No. 15 Penn State.

The Eagles lost in their regular season matchup 14–11 to the Wildcats, and the meeting before that was the 2023 national championship where the Wildcats routed the Eagles in an 18–6 blowout. 

The Wildcats come into the tournament riding a seven-game winning streak and look to continue that through their side of the bracket. The toughest test for the Wildcats would most likely be from No. 4-seed Maryland if the two were to both reach the semifinals. 

There are no easy games in the playoffs, and the Eagles will have to be prepared from the whistle to avoid a shock upset early, but the path is certainly there for them to get back to Cary, N.C. for the Final Four. 

May 10, 2024

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