Women’s lacrosse will play for its first NCAA Championship after coming from behind to beat Navy in the semifinal game at Gillette Stadium. To even have made it to the semis was a first for the Eagles, who entered the tournament unranked.
“It's amazing (to make it this far),” head coach Acacia Walker said. "It's been our goal all along to make it this far, and it's been something we've been working on for a few years. I think it's been brewing for a few years, and we've had a lot of excellent players and a lot of great leaders. But this is such a special group.”
BC struck first against the Midshipmen to take a 3-1 lead. However, the first half was all downhill from there. The Midshipmen were able to swing the momentum in their favor using an iron-clad defense to stifle the Eagles and score four unanswered goals while holding BC to two scoreless 10-minute stretches. The Eagles ended the half down 9-6.
“We just told them to recalibrate and start 0-0 and try to have a little fun,” Walker commented about the Eagles’ anemic first period. “They were just so tense in the first, so we wanted to start all over.”
While it was the players' first trip to the national semifinal, Walker has been to multiple national championships as an assistant coach at Northwestern. BC took Walker’s advice to heart and exploded in the second half, scoring five consecutive goals to regain the lead at 11-9, which they would hold for the remainder of the game. Kenzie Kent tallied six points—five goals and one assist, and recorded a hat-trick in the second half. The Eagles also traded goaltender Zoe Ochoa, who had nine saves in the first, for Lauren Daly in the second—a positive switch-up they’ve made all season.
With only a few minutes left to play, it looked like the Eagles might lose control. Following a yellow card to BC’s Hannah Hyatt, the Midshipmen cut their deficit to one at 16-15 with 1:10 left on the clock off of a free position goal by Kelley Larkin. But Kent won a final draw control to run the clock down and hold on to the one point lead as time expired.
BC will face No.1 Maryland on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. in its first NCAA Championship appearance. The Eagles will be the underdogs, as it will be Maryland’s fifth consecutive appearance. BC is the first unseeded team to make it to the NCAA Championship since 2003, and will look to avenge a midseason loss to the Terrapins back in March.
“I've been there as a coach a bunch of times,” Walker said, “but the players have never been there. So it's so important to stay humble and grounded as they have all year. They can't get too enamored with the lights and the stands and the stadium. They just have to play good lacrosse.”