Skip to main content
BC women's club

BC, Georgia Win WCLA Division I Semis, Set Up Championship Rematch

May 11, 2023
Paul Ohanian
Mike Caudill

VIRGINIA BEACH — The matchup that most WCLA fans have been anticipating for most of the season in the Division I national championship game is now a reality, as top-seeded Boston College Club and second-seeded Georgia both won semifinal games Thursday afternoon.

BC defeated No. 4 seed Michigan Club, 13-6, while Georgia withstood a late charge from No. 4 Pitt Club, 15-14. Friday’s championship game, set for a 10 a.m. start, will be a rematch of last year’s championship game, won by BC, 12-7. Friday’s Division I and II championship games will be available via free video streaming on USA Lacrosse’s YouTube channel.

Two nights ago, Boston College’s Katie Duttenhofer was honored as the WCLA’s national player of the year, receiving her award in a crowded ballroom during the annual awards ceremony. On Thursday, the senior attacker demonstrated on the field the reason she is the deserving winner of the award.

Against a stout Michigan defense, Duttenhofer scored a game-high five goals on a variety of shots, cuts and individual moves to lead her BC club past the Wolverines. Ranked No. 1 all season and the top seed in the tournament, Boston College will try to cap a second consecutive undefeated season and extend its two-year winning streak to 34 games.

“Today, we focused on seeing all of our options because we know everyone we have is a threat,” Duttenhofer said. “Today’s game was the best that we have played in the tournament.”

After spotting Michigan (13-7) an early goal, BC answered with four straight to build a 5-1 lead. Duttenhofer’s second of the game helped the lead grow to 7-4 heading into the final minute of the second quarter.

With Michigan in possession and hoping to cut into the lead as the clock ticked down, BC’s defender Catherine Nidds caused a turnover and triggered a quick transition that finished with Meghan Chase’s second goal just as time expired. The quick momentum shift put BC ahead 8-4 at halftime.

Two more by Duttenhofer in the third and another one with 11:38 left in the fourth quarter put the Eagles firmly in control and focused. Senior Julia Szynal added three goals, and Grace Arthur finished with two goals and two assists, while goalie Finley Collins recorded 11 saves.

“We have been talking a lot about staying where your feet are, and not thinking about the next game,” Duttenhofer said. “I think we did that pretty well today. And I think we still have some gas in the tank.”

In the second semifinal, Georgia led from start to finish against No. 3 seed Pitt but had to survive a late charge from the Panthers to set up the championship game rematch.

Aided by a career-high six goals from national rookie of the year Kayleigh Page, the Bulldogs led throughout the game and owned a 15-8 lead after three quarters. But Pitt created some late drama by scoring six unanswered goals in the fourth quarter and had a free position attempt with eight seconds left to force a tie, but Erin Bright’s shot sailed over the cage and time expired.

“I was definitely nervous on that last chance for Pitt,” Georgia’s All-American goalie Delaney Ott said. “Our defense didn’t play as well in the fourth quarter as we could, and Pitt took advantage of that. I was glad to see that clock go to zero.”

In addition to the six goals from freshman Page, junior Katelyn Sparks added three goals and two assists for the Bulldogs, who improved to 20-2 overall and have the most wins among WCLA teams this year.

Junior Margaret Stephen led Pitt with a game-high seven goals, including three free-position goals.

“We were able to get a lot of isolations and I think the 1-v-1 was working for us today,” Page said.

“This rematch is what we have worked for all season,” Ott said. “It’s a great redemption opportunity for us. We’re looking forward to it.”

DJO and Gatorade serve as official event sponsors for the 2023 USA Lacrosse WCLA Championships.