Lacrosse, Spring, Top Story, Sports

No. 3 BC Defeats No. 2 Syracuse 10–7, Advances to National Championship Rematch Against Northwestern

Boston College lacrosse is no stranger to the NCAA National Semifinals. In fact, the Eagles have now made it to seven straight national championships, with its first and only national championship win coming in 2021. 

But, according to BC head coach Acacia Walker, what separates this year’s national championship appearance from the rest is the unique experience that the senior leaders in the Class of 2024 have had. 

“We are not better because we have different personnel,” Walker-Weinstein said. “We are better because of the previous experiences that we have. I really trust this group of seniors, they’ve been through heartbreaking losses, they have earned back-to-back ACC championships, and they led our team to our first national championship win a few years ago. I don’t think there is another senior class that has had the experiences that these guys do, and that is what brings me confidence because I trust these leaders.”

Despite a rain delay, No. 3 BC (19–3, 7–2 Atlantic Coast) delivered on Friday night, defeating No. 2 Syracuse (16–6, 8–1) 10–7. Identically to how things played out for the 2023 NCAA final, the Eagles are set to play No. 1 Northwestern, searching for redemption after the 18–6 loss that ended BC’s season last year. 

BC did not begin the matchup with an early lead. The first quarter was a back and forth game between the ACC rivals.  

Just 25 seconds into the matchup, the Orange’s Maddy Baxter fired a shot into the upper right corner of the cage and past BC’s Shea Dolce, putting Syracuse on top first. 

But less than four minutes later, Emma LoPinto responded for the Eagles, picking up her 55th goal of the season. After receiving a pass from Belle Smith, LoPinto sprinted past her defenders and launched a behind-the-back shot to bring the score to a 1–1 tie. 

Less than two minutes later, with 9:46 left to play in the first quarter, Emma Ward scored Syracuse’s second goal of the night. 

That Syracuse lead did not last long, however. Ward’s goal marked the last time that the Orange would hold a lead. 

After goals from LoPinto and a Rachel Clark goal, BC held a 3–2 lead to end the first quarter. 

The Eagles’ offense was only heating up. 

Following a Cassidy Weeks goal with 11:03 left to play in the second quarter, BC held a two-goal advantage. 

A yellow card on Kaci Benoit directly after Weeks’ goal automatically gave the ball back to the Eagles with a man-up advantage. 

It didn’t take long for BC to capitalize. Twenty seconds later, off a McKenna Davis pass, Clark gave the Eagles a three-goal lead. 

Entering the half, BC expanded its lead to 6–2.

The third frame was the BC show, as the Eagles concluded the quarter with a 9–4 lead. 

The Eagles held Syracuse scoreless for over 24 minutes. Shea Dolce’s three third-quarter saves kept the Orange scoreless in the frame. 

The fourth quarter did not appear as smooth BC, as a Syracuse comeback appeared to be in the works for some time. 

With 8:56 left to play in the matchup, Syracuse had managed to bring itself back to a two-goal deficit after three unanswered goals to start the quarter.

But the Orange could ultimately not convert. With 31 seconds left in the game, Clark sailed an upper left hand corner shot into the Syracuse cage, solidifying a 10–7 BC win.

In response to her team’s win, Walker-Weinstein mentioned what her team did well. 

“I’m really proud of our team,” Walker-Weinstein said. “Syracuse is a really difficult opponent and can be a giant with all the talent that they have. I think we did a nice job on our matchups, and I think we played BC lacrosse.”

When asked about her reactions to a Northwestern rematch, Walker-Weinstein emphasized her team’s preparation. 

“I think we’ve utilized the experiences we have had over the last few years to kind of harden us and get smart, but now we’ll do a lot of what we always do,” Walker-Weinstein said. “We’ll study a lot of recent films and we’ll look at what they are doing differently. We won’t be talking about years past. It’s already in our head, so we’ll stick to gameplanning.” 

The Eagle’s victory over the Orange marks their third consecutive win against Syracuse this season, with the last matchup being the ACC Championship, in which the Eagles defeated the Orange 15–8.

May 25, 2024