Sports, Spring, Lacrosse

Eagles Defeat Michigan in NCAA Quarterfinals

Prior to the NCAA tournament quarterfinal matchup between Boston College lacrosse and Michigan, the Wolverines had the best scoring defense in the country, led by first team All-American goalkeeper Erin O’Grady.

BC seemed to care little about Michigan’s defensive prowess, imposing their high-octane style of play throughout the game with little resistance on their way to their seventh consecutive NCAA semifinal.

“Knowing that we earned another day is something that we’ve focused on all playoffs and that feeling is amazing,” BC goalkeeper Shea Dolce said. “Now we’re just going to get even more fired up for what’s to come.”

No. 2-seed Boston College (18–3, 7–2 Atlantic Coast) defeated Michigan (16–4, 4–2 Big Ten) by a score of 14–9 thanks to hat tricks from Rachel Clark and Kayla Martello and nine saves by Dolce.

Kayla Martello scored BC’s seventh goal of the season just 4:19 into the second quarter of the game, and when Andrea Reynolds scored BC’s tenth of the game with 4:17 left in the frame, O’Grady was pulled in favor of Maya Santa-Maria.

“I think I had 100% confidence in our game plan,” Clark said. “And in practice against scout [team] was like, Okay, this is gonna work. We knew exactly what we wanted to do, and I think from the first trial we were executing.”

Mckenna Davis took the lead for BC 1:02 into the game—one which they would not relinquish for the rest of the contest. Cassidy Weeks doubled BC’s lead off of the rush created by a forced turnover at the other end just 1:06 after Davis’ opening goal to give BC a 2–0 lead.

Jill Smith got one back for the Wolverines off of an eight-meter free position shortly after, but Belle Smith restored the Eagles’ two goal-lead less than two minutes later.

Michigan looked to swing the momentum its way with a player-up opportunity after a yellow card on BC’s Lydia Colasante, but failed to score on the advantage when Dolce came up with a big stick save to help the Eagles maintain their two-goal advantage.

Goals by Martello and Clark helped the Eagles to a 6–2 lead heading into the second quarter.

“We’ve just started to connect so well,” Clark said. “And every single person on our offense is such a threat. You just can’t focus on one person because the other is gonna strike, so I think we’re finally just using all our weapons and playing together and it’s so much fun.”

After Ava Class cut into the BC lead 2:30 into the second quarter on a shot right in front of the net, BC ripped off five unanswered goals to balloon the lead up to 11–3.

Kaylee Dyer was able to stop the bleeding slightly for Michigan, going top shelf with 23 seconds left in the half to finally get one for the Wolverines, but BC still held a seven-goal lead going into the half.

Michigan scored three unanswered goals of their own in the third quarter, at one point cutting BC’s lead down to five off of a goal by Annabelle Burke, but Clark was there to respond for BC with 39 seconds left in the frame to put the score at 13–7.

After Jill Smith and Martello traded goals in the beginning of that fourth quarter, BC was happy to salt away the clock and play defense. The Eagles did not allow another Michigan goal until there was just 29 seconds left on the clock—far too late for the Wolverines to deny BC its seventh consecutive NCAA quarterfinal victory.

“We have the best defensive unit in the country,” Dolce said. “and we hold ourselves to a high standard, so [after] our performance last game, we really wanted to do better and prepared so hard this week, and our defensive coach, Jen Kent, she pushes us every day.”

May 22, 2024

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