Two titans in NCAA women’s lacrosse met in Baltimore yesterday to determine a national champion. One, North Carolina, was looking to finish what they couldn’t last year: an undefeated season. The other, Boston College, hoped the third time would be a charm this season and they would go back-to-back once again ruining the undefeated season of the Tar Heels. In the end, Carolina was able to get the better of the Eagles.
It’s the third national title for Jenny Levy’s squad, and their first since 2016.
Both squads were coming off thrilling fourth quarter comebacks, so it was understood that no lead was going to be safe. True to form, the Tar Heels opened up a 2-0 lead, BC tied it, then the Heels scored three straight to take a 5-2 lead after one. The hero of Friday’s game, Sam Geiersbach, had both of the scores to start the game, and then the rest were spread around as the Tar Heels seemed to have figured out BC goalie Rachel Hall.
The second quarter, though, saw the tide start to shift. Cassidy Weeks started the scoring for the Eagles, and slipped in a goal with only 19 seconds left in the half to bring the Eagles to 7-5. After seemingly hitting every shot, Hall started making some key saves as the Eagles’ defense stiffened.
The third quarter belonged to BC. Charlotte North for the Eagles is considered by many the best player in the game, but had been mostly quiet save for a goal in the first. She woke up in the third, scoring two in a row after Jenn Medjid opened the quarter for the Eagles, and with the four straight scores, BC had taken an 8-7 lead. Hall made save after save, and it looked as if all the momentum was on the side of the Eagles.
Ally Mastroianni however changed that, picking up a rebound off yet another save and finally breaking Hall after a scoreless 17 minutes to knot the score at 8 going into the fourth.
The final quarter played out like both squads didn’t want to give an inch, as BC took a 9-8 lead just two minutes in, but then the Tar Heels managed two fast break goals, including an amazing breakaway by Ortega:
The Tar Heels had a 10-9 lead that wouldn’t last, as an unfortunate bounce on a rebound found Belle Smith for the Eagles who managed to tie it with 9:50 left.
Then it was time for Geiersbach to shine again.
For those who are unfamiliar with women’s lacrosse, you cannot so much as set foot inside the goalie circle, and Carolina actually lost possession once earlier on such a play. Geiersbach took the ball after the score had been knotted up and scored this beauty, staying just outside the circle.
UNC goalie Taylor Moreno then stood tall on the subsequent BC possession, and Carolina charged down the field with 3:53 left, looking for an important two goal lead. Geiersbach threw a shot at Hall, but it hit the post and careened to the corner. The refs let the players fight for it, and Geiersbach ultimately ended up winning it back. With a new clock and BC scrambling, the Tar Heels reset, and soon Scottie Rose Growney found the back of the net for the all-important two goal lead.
BC would win the all important draw, and with 1:30 left put a shot on Moreno, but she made a save, and the Tar Heels looked at the 90 shot clock and tried to play keep-away. However, a cross field pass missed it’s mark, BC was able to recover, and stormed down the field. Weeks slipped one past Moreno to make it 12-11 with just fifteen seconds left. After a timeout, though, the Tar Heels won the draw and was able to run out the clock...
It’s fair to say they were happy:
The Tar Heels cap off a perfect season, finishing what they were unable to last season, and shining on the biggest stage possible as to celebrate 50 years of Title IX ESPN put the title game on the big network.
The win also extends this unbelievable stat:
With the @uncwlax NCAA title today, every four-year @UNC student who started school since 1977 has been on campus for at least one @goheels national title.— Adam Lucas (@jadamlucas) May 29, 2022
Those original students are now 63 years old.#universityofnationalchampion#gdtbath
You also have this remarkable stat that speaks to just how dominate the UNC women’s programs have been.
North Carolina women’s lacrosse wins the 34th NCAA championship by a Tar Heels women’s program. Only Stanford and UCLA have more.— Bryan Ives (@awaytoworthy) May 29, 2022
In fact, no other ACC program has that many men’s or women’s NCAA titles combined.
When we say University of National Champions, you know we are serious.
Congrats to Jenny Levy and the rest of the UNC Women’s Lacrosse team. An outstanding national title to hold high in the air.