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Boston College's Sydney Scales

Lucky Seven? Boston College Heads Back to NCAA Championship Weekend

May 16, 2024
Brian Logue
Risley Sports Photography

At times this season, Michigan’s defense has looked unbreakable. But on Friday evening, Boston College’s offense looked unstoppable. The result was a 14-9 BC victory that will send the Eagles to NCAA championship weekend for the seventh consecutive time.

Michigan came into the game leading the nation with just 7.2 goals allowed per contest. Its goalie, Erin O’Grady, ranked second in the country with a 56.6 save percentage. The Wolverines held eight opponents to five goals of less this season, including NCAA tournament teams Denver and Penn.

None of that mattered to Boston College. Playmaker Mckenna Davis dodged and scored the first goal of the game less than two minutes in. Emma LoPinto showed moves on moves for an early goal.

The Eagles also used pinpoint passing for goals, and after a late first-quarter goal for Michigan’s Katharine Merrifield could have given the Wolverines some momentum, BC’s Rachel Clark scored with just six seconds left in the first quarter to give Michigan a 6-2 lead. The six goals came from six different players.

“Over the course of the season we've just started to connect so well and every single person on our offense is such a threat, you just you can't focus on one person because the other is going to strike,” Clark said. “We’re finally just using all our weapons and playing together and it's just so much fun.”

Clark, a grad transfer from Virginia who leads the Eagles with 71 goals, added two more of her game-high four goals in the second quarter as Boston College stretched its lead out to 11-4 at the half.

Michigan had only given up 11 goals in a game just three times all season, much less in one half. Michigan coach Hannah Nielsen pulled O’Grady, a USA Lacrosse First Team All-American, for a period of time to try to give her defense some kind of spark, but nothing seemed to slow Boston College.

BC was sloppy in the third quarter, committing five turnovers, including three failed clears, but Michigan was unable to make much of a dent due to the solid goaltending of Shea Dolce. Dolce made four of her nine saves in the third quarter and allowed Michigan to close the margin by just a single goal.

With a 13-7 lead entering the fourth quarter, Boston College was content to burn the clock for long stretches of time and cruised to the victory.

Michigan, playing in the NCAA quarterfinal round for the first time, finished the season with a 16-4 record. Kaylee Dyer had three goals and two assists and Jill Smith, who was face-guarded for much of the game, scored twice.

Clark added an assist for a team-high five points for Boston College while Kayle Martello scored three goals and Davis and Cassidy Weeks each scored twice. BC’s defense caused nine turnovers, with Shea Baker causing three and Sydney Scales two.

BC returns to a familiar place with its seventh straight trip to the semifinals. BC has played in the last six national championship games but won it all just once, a 2021 triumph over Syracuse.

“It definitely feels different,” said head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein. “The teams are different every year. The stories are different. The personalities are different. We just have to figure out top to bottom what we need to do better and differently from last year, you know. Past success doesn't guarantee future success and past failure doesn't guarantee future failure, so we're just going to stay focused on the next week and getting better, figuring out how we can all be a little bit better.”

BC will meet Syracuse in the semifinals next Friday in Cary, N.C. BC knocked off Syracuse in last year’s semifinals before falling to Northwestern in the NCAA championship game. This will be the third meeting between BC and Syracuse this year. The Eagles swept both of those games, including the ACC championship game, and have beaten the Orange six straight times.