Over her five years with Boston College women’s lacrosse, Jenn Medjid has done so much for the Eagles. The graduate student has scored 251 career goals, second in program history. In addition to her offensive contributions, she has stepped up as a leade.
On Friday night, Medjid added to her legend. Her five-goal performance against Syracuse in the national semifinal single-handedly kept the Eagles going during a tough defensive battle, leading them to a 8-7 victory over the Orange. BC (19-3) advances to its sixth consecutive national title game Sunday at noon against Northwestern in Cary, N.C.
“I needed to step up as a player and a leader for my team when we needed it,” said Medjid.
The game’s first 10 minutes were dominated by Syracuse (18-3). The Orange took a 3-0 lead, with two of those tallies coming off the stick of Emma Ward. BC’s defense, one of its strongest traits, was stunned, but regrouped quickly. Medjid helped out by scoring her first goal of the night three minutes later. Cassidy Weeks followed shortly after with a diving goal to bring BC within a goal.
The Eagles defense knew it had to play better than it had in the game’s first 10 minutes, better than in BC’s regular season meeting with the Orange.
“Our last Syracuse game wasn’t our best game defensively, and I know personally that game wasn’t my best either,” said BC freshman goaltender Shea Dolce, who made seven saves. “I knew those first two goals, they couldn’t rattle me because that was going to set the tone for the rest of the game. So we reset as a defense, and I just kept my head in the game and focused on the next goal.”
Inspired, Dolce and the Eagles limited the Orange’s high-powered scorers for the next 20 minutes. But while the defense was turning in great work, BC’s offense struggled. The Eagles finally tied the game with eight minutes to go in the first half on a Andrea Reynolds free position shot.
After some uncharacteristically sloppy play by BC, Syracuse’s Emma Tyrrell gave the Orange a 4-3 lead with 4:25 left in the first half. Again, it was Medjid to the rescue. Her second goal of the game tied the game, 4-4, at the half.
Syracuse took control of the third, outshooting the Eagles, 8-4, in the quarter and taking a 6-4 lead before Medjid scored again to bring BC within a goal. With 1:28 left in the third, Megan Carney reopened up a two-goal lead for the Orange.
If one theme has emerged over BC’s season, it is that the Eagles can never be counted out. They entered the fourth quarter not demoralized at their deficit, but excited for the challenge that lay ahead.
“They are smart enough to know that the game’s not over until it’s over,” said Eagles coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein.
Medjid wrestled control of the game from Syracuse at the opening of the fourth, scoring twice within the frame’s sixth minute to tie the game, 7-7. She knew if she could get her teammates that far, they would come through for the rest.
“I just knew once we were going to tie, we were going to win the whole thing,” said Medjid. “We were going to make the stops we needed to make, we were going to score game-winning goal, and I knew that we were going to win it.”
After the teams traded timeouts, Kayla Martello scored the game-winner with 3:31 left. On the next Syracuse possession, BC midfielder Belle Smith was beaten one-on-one against the Orange’s Olivia Adamson, but didn’t let the play go. She ended up blocking Adamson’s shot on goal, causing a ground ball picked up by Sophia Taglich, ending Syracuse’s final possession.
“[Assistant coach Jen Kent] has been saying all year long to ‘finish your one-v-ones’” said Walker-Weinstein. “Meaning, it doesn’t matter if you get beat, but you’re still in it. It was exactly what happened on that play.”
The Eagles will face top-seeded Northwestern in Sunday’s national title game. The Wildcats defeated previously unbeaten Denver, 15-7, in Friday’s first semifinal, with Newburyport native and former Tufts goalie Molly Laliberty making eight saves and improving to 20-1 as a starter.
Kat Cornetta can be reached at email@example.com.