With less than a minute left in a tied NCAA semifinal against Maryland, Boston College senior midfielder Cassidy Weeks found herself fighting off several Terrapin defenders.
Eagles’ coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein saw Weeks’s effort and thought she might need to sub out. Walker-Weinstein turned to an expert on the matter — Weeks’s twin sister, Courtney, also an Eagles midfielder.
“I said, ‘Does your sister need a break?’” said Walker-Weinstein. “She said ‘No.’”
Leaving Cassidy Weeks in turned out to be the best thing for the Eagles, because with 18 seconds left and the game tied, 16-16, her perfectly-angled shot from the side of the Maryland net gave BC the 17-16 victory, sending the Eagles to their fifth consecutive national championship game.
“I knew anyone on our team could score,” said Weeks of her game-winner. “I saw the chance opening and went for it.”
“To see [Cassidy] come into the spotlight is great, because she is unquestionably our hardest working player,” said Walker-Weinstein.
The entire Eagles’ roster had to work hard all night thanks to the back-and-forth nature of the game. The teams traded goals early, but No. 3 BC (19-3) showed that it had done its homework on No. 2 Maryland’s (19-2) strong defense. The Eagles were patient in the Terrapins’ zone, and they dominated possession early, thanks to standout Charlotte North’s five straight draw control wins. At the midpoint of the second quarter, BC had a 6-3 lead.
Maryland began to have more success on the draw, allowing them to score four in the first half’s last 3:30 to take a 7-6 lead into the intermission.
The third quarter opened with back-and-forth goals, but midway through, Maryland took a 10-8 lead on a controversial goal. Terrapin midfielder Jordyn Lipkin dived into the crease and shot, which could have been disallowed. Though Walker-Weinstein protested, the goal stood. It didn’t faze BC, with sophomore Kayla Martello adding two goals in the last minutes of the third to help the Eagles keep pace.
Maryland continued to dominate draws early in the fourth quarter, winning five in a row and establishing a 14-11 lead. North scored on a free position shot for BC with 9:33 left, before Maryland’s Hannah Leubecker tallied her fifth goal of the game. Caitlynn Mossman then scored for the Eagles, but Maryland answered yet again, making it 16-13.
BC took a timeout with 7:04 remaining in the game, and that launched the Eagles into their game-clinching four-goal run. Jenn Medjid scored first, followed by two from North, including the tying goal with 3:06 to play, her team-leading sixth of the evening. With seconds left, Weeks scored to complete the comeback.
“We got caught back on our heels instead of staying on our toes,” said Maryland coach Cathy Reese.
In Sunday’s championship, BC will face ACC foe North Carolina, which won the first semifinal by scoring eight unanswered goals in the game’s last 10 minutes to defeat fourth-seeded Northwestern, 15-14. Graduate student Sam Geiersbach scored both the tying and winning goals in the last 2:25 for the No. 1 Tar Heels.
Northwestern, coached by Hingham native Kelly Amonte Hiller, had a 8-2 lead after the first half, despite a substantial rain delay that stopped the game for 95 minutes. Cohasset’s Elle Hansen, the Globe’s Girls Lacrosse Player of the Year in 2017, pitched in on the Wildcats’ opening dominance with a goal, adding another in the third.
Undefeated North Carolina entered the fourth quarter down, 13-6, but dominated Northwestern from there. The Tar Heels limited the Wildcats to one tally in the final frame as they lodged their comeback.
Kat Cornetta can be reached at email@example.com.