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Women's college lacrosse

BC women’s lacrosse team will need to be at its best to defeat top seed Northwestern in Sunday’s NCAA championship game

Members of the BC women's lacrosse team celebrated their semifinal win over Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament, putting the Eagles in a sixth straight national championship game.Ryan Hunt/Getty Images

To win its second national title on Sunday, the Boston College women’s lacrosse team will need to dig deep into what coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein calls the Eagles’ “passion plays.”

At this point in the season, nothing is easy. The coaching staff knows that if they are to defeat Northwestern in Sunday afternoon’s NCAA championship in Cary, N.C., it’s not going to be just a flashy goal or save that wins it. It’s going to be smaller plays that might not get noticed by the average viewer but make the difference. The maintained effort. Extra care with the ball. Staying locked in with the game around you.


“It’s always those small plays that you remember forever,” said Walker-Weinstein. “It’s always the small plays that wind up being the biggest ones in games like this.”

Not making the small plays early can cause frustration, which is what BC (19-3) faced early in Friday night’s semifinal against Syracuse. Small mistakes and uncharacteristic turnovers had the Eagles down, 3-0, in the opening minutes, and kept what had been a consistent offense grounded.

Graduate student Jenn Medjid saved the day, scoring five of BC’s eight goals, including making up a two-goal deficit in the fourth quarter. Kayla Martello saved her first goal of the game for the best time, scoring the winner with 3:31 remaining. Relentless play by the defense and midfield shut down Syracuse late to secure the 8-7 win.

The Eagles are aware they can’t wait until the fourth quarter to play their A-game in the final. To defeat the tournament’s top seed, they will need to give their best effort for a full 60 minutes.

“We have to find a way to be better in one day,” said Walker-Weinstein. “We can’t be the same. We have to improve in some way, whether that’s mentally or physically.”


The Eagles’ defense lived up to expectations Friday. The Orange had three of the nation’s top scorers, and BC limited Syracuse to its lowest goal total of the season.

“As cliché as it is, defense wins championships, and our defensive performance [Friday] was out of this world,” said Walker-Weinstein.

Another stellar defensive performance will be needed against the Wildcats (20-1). When the teams met in the regular season on Feb. 19, it was a shootout. BC jumped out to a 4-1 lead, and Medjid and Martello finished with four goals each. But Northwestern’s Dylan Amonte, a Thayer Academy product from Norwell, scored five, including the winner, as Northwestern prevailed, 15-14.

In their Friday semifinal against Denver, Northwestern also found itself in a tight battle early. In the second half, however, the Wildcats wrestled back control, outscoring the Pioneers, 9-3, on their way to a 15-7 win and their first berth in the NCAA championship game since 2012.

Offensive dominance is something Northwestern has shown all season. Despite the tight game with BC, a one-goal victory over Michigan in the NCAA Tournament second round, and a season-opening loss to Syracuse, the Wildcats have had giant margins of victory, outscoring opponents, 355-190. Behind the nation’s leading scorer, Tewaaraton Award favorite Izzy Scane (95 goals, 33 assists), Northwestern brings an offense that easily got past Denver, the nation’s top defense.

“For us to be one of the last two teams standing, we’re really, really grateful for that,” said Northwestern’s Kelly Amonte Hiller, a Hingham native and a seven-time NCAA champion as a coach. “We are trying to soak up this opportunity and just savor every moment, and hopefully we can just go out there and play hard again on Sunday.”


Northwestern presents BC its biggest challenge of the season, on the biggest stage. But over the last month and a half, the Eagles have resiliency that is unmatched in Division 1 lacrosse. Could that, coupled with those small “passion plays,” lift BC over Northwestern?

“They are never out of it,” said Walker-Weinstein of her players. “It’s something this team has been very good at all year — the moment’s never been too big.”

Kat Cornetta can be reached at