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UNC's Nicole Humphrey

NCAA Division I Women's Quarterfinals Preview

May 17, 2023
Beth Ann Mayer
Peyton Williams

Six of the eight women’s Division I NCAA second-round games were decided by one or two goals. What will the remaining eight teams do for an encore?

It will be hard to top last weekend. But no doubt the quarterfinalists in NCAA Division I women’s lacrosse will try, and we’ll be here for it. Join us by gluing your eyes to ESPNU, where every game will be televised, starting at noon Thursday with James Madison and Syracuse.

Throughout Thursday, check back here and on USA Lacrosse Magazine’s social channels (@usalacrossemag) for coverage into the evening, including live updates, highlights and the epic goal celebrations.



*All games scheduled to broadcast on ESPNU.

12 p.m. — (7) James Madison at (2) Syracuse
2:30 p.m. — Notre Dame at (3) Boston College
5 p.m. — (5) Denver at (4) North Carolina
7:30 p.m. — (8) Loyola at (1) Northwestern


Pregame Reading on James Madison: Kat Buchanan Spurned the Transfer Portal to Wait for Her Shot at JMU; Duke of Hazard: The Many Layers of Mairead Durkin

Pregame Reading on Syracuse: Meaghan Tyrrell, Syracuse's Unassuming Superstar; Resilient Delaney Sweitzer Playing Like Nation's Top Goalie

Series History: Syracuse is 1-0 all time against James Madison. The Orange beat the Dukes 7-3 on May 22, 2010, in the NCAA quarterfinals.

One Shining Moment: The last time James Madison won a national title was 2018 in Stony Brook, New York. Syracuse has never won a national championship, though the Orange have appeared in three title games.

One-Liner: Syracuse’s thing-of-beauty offense returned to form with a 25-goal output against Johns Hopkins, but never count out the Dukes, who rallied from a five-goal fourth-quarter deficit to top Maryland in the second round.

Next stop: The winner advances to face the winner of Notre Dame at (3) Boston College in the NCAA semifinals on May 26 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.


Pregame Reading on Notre Dame: Notre Dame Snaps North Carolina's 27-Game ACC Winning Streak

Pregame Reading on Boston College: Underestimate Belle Smith at Your Own Risk; BC Spoils Syracuse's Perfect Season

Series History: The ACC rivals are certainly familiar with each other. Boston College is 14-8 against Notre Dame in the series and has won both contests (12-11, 9-4) this spring. The Eagles are 6-0 in the past three seasons against the Irish.

One Shining Moment: Notre Dame has never won a national championship and has only once (2006) advanced to the Final Four. Boston College won its first national championship in 2021 and has appeared in five straight title games.

One-Liner: Boston College is 2-0 this spring against the Irish, who are the lone unseeded team to make it to the quarterfinals after a 16-15 thriller over Florida.

Next stop: The winner advances to face the winner of (7) James Madison at (2) Syracuse in the NCAA semifinals on May 26 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.


Pregame Reading on Denver: Well-Traveled Trinity McPherson Finds New Home at Denver; Denver Enters Top 3 of Nike/USA Lacrosse Top 20

Pregame Reading on North Carolina: The Next Great Tar Heel? Marissa White Looks Like It; North Carolina Emphatically Wins Championship Game Rematch

Series History: North Carolina holds a 4-0 edge over Denver in the series, though the sides have not played each other since March 7, 2011. They have never squared off in an NCAA tournament game.

One-Shining Moment: This will be the second time Denver has competed in the NCAA quarterfinals. In 2019, the Pioneers lost to Maryland. North Carolina won the 2022 national championship and has won three NCAA titles overall.

One-Liner: Denver looks for its first trip to the Final Four against a Tar Heels program that has made it there every full season since 2018, including last year’s perfect run to a championship.

Next stop: The winner advances to face the winner of (8) Loyola at (1) Northwestern in the NCAA semifinals on May 26 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.


Pregame Reading on Loyola: Jillian Wilson Wins Pivotal Draw Against Stony Brook; Once A Hidden Gem, Jillian Wilson Motors into Final Games

Pregame Reading on Northwestern: Laliberty, Rhatigan Have Pushed Northwestern Over the Top; Northwestern's Turn at No. 1 in Top 20

Series History: The all-time series is split 1-1, though the last time the Greyhounds and Wildcats played was April 24, 1986.

One Shining Moment: Loyola has never won a national title and last appeared in the NCAA championship game in 1997 (a loss to Maryland). Northwestern is one of the most decorated programs in NCAA lacrosse history, winning seven NCAA championships — though the last came in 2012. Northwestern has made three straight Final Four appearances.

One-Liner: Aside from top-10 scoring offenses, Northwestern and Loyola have another thing in common: Neither of these teams has lost since playing Syracuse (Loyola on March 15, Northwestern on February 11).

Next stop: The winner advances to face the winner of (5) Denver at (4) North Carolina in the NCAA semifinals on May 26 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C