HOPE HIGHLIGHTS – MAY 31
By Abby Hope

BOSTON COLLEGE IS NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN’S LACROSSE CHAMPIONS

On Sunday, May 30, 2021, it happened. The No. 4 seed Boston College Women’s Lacrosse team claimed their first-ever National Championship trophy in a 16-10 victory over No. 3 seed Syracuse. After going head-to-head three times this Spring, the first a 14-13 BC win, the second a 16-7 Syracuse win, and the third a 19-17 Syracuse win, the two ACC teams put their skills to the test one more time. The Eagles were again playing for the highest stakes; they had played in the three previous championships and lost consecutively.

Here’s how BC took down Syracuse to change that narrative.

BC: Senior, Duke transfer, first-team All-ACC selection, and the favorite to win the Tewaaraton Award, Charlotte North, led her team with a show-stopping six goals and four draw controls in this exciting matchup. By the end of the game, North’s season goal total was 102, surpassing the previous single-season goal record for Women’s Lacrosse. In addition to holding that record, she also holds the NCAA Tournament All-Time Record with 25 goals in four games. North opened the scoring for BC, finding the back of the net early in the 1st half. Syracuse’s Sam Swart answered back off an assist from Sierra Cockerille. 1-1. BC: Cara Urbank and North notched the next two goals unassisted and extended the BC lead to 3-1. The Orange would not let that scoring run continue. Cuse: Emma Tyrell, and Emma Ward, scored to tie the encounter and when Cockerille got past goalkeeper Rachel Hall it secured the lead at 4-3 Syracuse. The next two goals came off man-up opportunities from the Eagles with Jenn Medjid and Belle Smith allowing BC to retake the lead at 5-4. The teams proved they were evenly matched for each other when throughout the entire 1st half, neither team could secure a solid lead. Cuse: Emily Ehle and Swart responded to those two goals with two of their own and the contest continued on the scoring seesaw with the arithmetic 6-5 Syracuse. At which point Courtney Weeks and Smith shot around Cuse goalkeeper Asa Goldstock finding the lattice and making the score 7-6 BC. Cuse: Cara Quimby scored unassisted to tie the game at 7s. North notched a hattrick in the first half allowing BC to take the lead 8-7. Caitlyn Mossman added to the BC lead by making the score 9-7. Ward would close out the first-half scoring, cutting the Cuse deficit to just 1 goal. 9-8 Halftime in an extremely entertaining and competitive championship tilt.

At halftime, Boston College Head Coach Acacia Walker Weinstein said of her team that “defense was playing well, we need to find patience on offense, stop their weave, and pay attention to Ward.” On the opposite side of the 50, Syracuse Head Coach Gary Gait made his third Championship appearance as well, adding that of all the teams who have played on this stage, the current team was the one who was most prepared to finish it.

In the second half, Boston College came out seasoned, hungry, and brought their fans to their feet early. Off an assist from Mossman, Medjid scored her 61st goal of the season. 10-8 BC. Courtney Weeks then scored off a free position shot to make the lead even bigger. 11-8 BC. North recorded her 100th goal of the season and gave BC the largest lead of the day at 12-8. Maddy Baxter scored and cut the Syracuse deficit to 3 goals. 12-9 Cuse was down with 17 minutes left in the game. North kept on chugging, not settling at attaining triple-digit season goals, when they put her on the 8-meter hash, she cranked back her arms, cradling the ball with power and ease, and broke records when she sent the ball flying with the steam we see commonly in the men’s game. It was an impressive 101st marker that could not have been saved by even the finest goalies. 13-9 BC. Weeks got another one, and BC was able to take the first deep breath of the match now that they had a five-goal lead and fifteen minutes left. 14-9 BC. BC capitalized on another free position opportunity when Urbank added to the BC lead. 15-9. Syracuse Megan Tyrell closed out the scoring for the Orange, her 68th goal of the season. 15-10 BC. The same way North entered the game is how she finished the game, by sending the little yellow ball fiercely past goalkeeper Golstock, notching the last point of the final match. Boston College won 16-10.

For my readers who are unfamiliar, the sport of lacrosse is one of the oldest team sports in North America, and it is sacred to Native Americans. Tewaaraton is the Mohawk word for their game and the forefather of lacrosse that exists today. “Endorsed by the Mohawk Nation Council of Elders and U.S. Lacrosse, the Tewaaraton Award symbolizes lacrosse’s centuries-old roots in Native American heritage. The selection committees are comprised of premier college coaches and are appointed annually by the Tewaaraton Foundation” (NCAA.com). To lacrosse fanatics, it is as prized as a Heisman trophy.

Alongside North are four other tremendous athletes up for the Tewaaraton award; ACC Attacker of the Year, Jamie Ortega (UNC); ACC Defender of the Year, Taylor Moreno (UNC); Big Ten’s Attacker of the Year, Izzy Scane (Northwestern); and Big Ten’s Defender of the Year Lizzie Colson (Maryland).

If you ask me, North deserves the Tewaaraton award after the show she put on this season. She was one of the best players on Duke and transferred to BC to be the best amongst the best. With a picture-perfect ending, she proved she led a team that was exactly that: the best in the country, and throughout the course of the season, she has actively grown the sport of lacrosse. Wouldn’t it be awesome for the lacrosse community if the New England Patriots were in their house, Gillette Stadium, to recognize the BC Women’s Lacrosse Team as National Champions, when the Tewaaraton finalists are announced on June 5th?  Are you listening, Robert Kraft?

The Premier Lacrosse League has a business model unique to all other sports. The games are played at different stadiums across the country, every weekend in season. Given that lacrosse is such a niche market, the PLL thrives off this business model because there is no city-to-team attachment, but rather the opportunity for lacrosse fans to celebrate and enjoy the sport on a weekend the league visits their town. On June 5th, the PLL’s Whipsnakes will go head-to-head against Chaos Lacrosse Club.

The New England Patriots official Twitter account congratulated the BC lacrosse team on their win, which is a start, but live recognition from an NFL team during a PLL game that is set to be broadcasted on NBC network would create tremendous strides in gaining popularity for the sport and awareness beyond the lacrosse community.

Outside of the lacrosse community, the sport receives pushback and constant animosity when major media outlets like ESPN cover it. When ESPN posted to their Twitter account, congratulating the BC Women’s team alongside a highlight reel of North, comment after comment was negative, mostly nonsensical jabs like, “post real sports,” “nobody cares,” and “everyone’s watching the NBA playoffs,” but nonetheless they are hateful and these internet trolls could be challenged if media chose to cover women’s sports in more accessible formats. One tweet even read that a person attempted to buy an NCAA W Lacrosse season TV pass, and the NCAA committee told them there was not one. If this is true, that is certainly a Title IX complaint that needs to be addressed.

Alongside Coach Walker was assistant coach Jennifer Kent, associate coach Kayla Treanor, and graduate assistant, Sam Apuzzo. Coaching BC against the team she formerly played on, Kayla Treanor has accomplished much to date as a player, coach, and mentor. As a player, Treanor was a Tewaaraton Award finalist, three-time winner of the IWLCA Attacker of the Year, and IWLCA All-America First Team selection, among many other accolades. Now, she has taken her skills to the sideline and continues to grow the sport of lacrosse in many positive ways. Apuzzo was a team captain in her senior year of 2019, she was a Tewaaraton Finalist, named to the Midseason First Team All-American Team by Inside Lacrosse, and was an All-ACC First Team selection.  After many attempts as a player, she finally had the trophy ending she deserved, as a coach.

My hometown Orange finished as National Runners-Up and there’s no shame in that.  The Orange should hold their heads high for a tremendous season!

 

 

Photo courtesy of Florida News Times.