Notre Dame women’s lacrosse was eliminated from the NCAA tournament Thursday, falling to Boston College 20-6 in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.
The third iteration of the matchup between the two squads was nothing like the first two. The eApril 8 contest saw Notre Dame lead in the fourth quarter but collapse under late Boston College pressure. The ACC tournament edition saw the Irish hold the high-scoring Eagle offense to just nine goals. However, the Irish tallied only four themselves — the squad’s worst offensive performance of the season by a clear margin.
In both of the first two games Notre Dame lost, but showed positive signs. The third matchup, however, did not contain any feel-good takeaways. Instead, Boston College simply dominated wire-to-wire.
The Eagles started the scoring early, with Kayla Martello getting the home team on the board just 1:24 in. A brief Notre Dame surge saw the Irish jump in front shortly thereafter. Senior attacker Madison Ahern and junior midfielder Mary Kelly Doherty both tallied early to put the Irish in front 2-1.
The lead would not last long, however. Just under a minute after Doherty’s goal, Jenn Medjid tied things back up for Boston College. Medjid would then give the Eagles the lead soon after her equalizer.
That burst proved to be the start of one of several notable Boston College scoring runs on the day. The Eagles would score six consecutive goals after Doherty first put the Irish ahead. Notre Dame wouldn’t score again until the second quarter, when a goal by senior midfielder Kasey Choma made it 7-3 Boston College.
After a back-and-forth end to the second quarter put the Eagles ahead 10-4 at halftime, Boston College buried the Irish with one final run in the second half. Coming out of the break, the Eagles ripped off five consecutive goals. With a 10-goal margin running clock in effect, the Eagles let loose a final salvo of five straight goals to start the fourth.
Free position shots proved a death blow for the Irish in a game where the Eagles offense did not need any help. Seven of the Eagles’ 20 goals — over a third — came on free-position shots. Several of them came on possessions where Boston College had struggled to get a shot but earned one by drawing a foul, with the Irish effectively bailing the Eagles out during the few moments where their offense stagnated.
Boston College’s dominance from free shots reflected of their general dominance in the attacking third. The Eagles roughly doubled the Irish in both shots and shots on goal.
Though the consistently growing scoreline made her less of a factor as the game drew on, Shea Dolce was excellent in net for Boston College. The freshman made just five saves, but several came at point-blank range. Dolce’s steady presence was a crucial difference-maker for the Eagles in the game’s more competitive early phases.
With the loss, Notre Dame falls to 15-6 on the season. The Irish will look ahead to the 2024 season, during which they will have to deal with the graduation of several key contributors.