Charlotte North’s full impact on Boston College and college lacrosse might not be felt completely until six or seven years from now.
The graduate student attack, who played her final game in an Eagles jersey Sunday, has already established her lacrosse legacy. The 2021 Tewaaraton Award winner as the nation’s top player holds the NCAA record for career goals with 358. A transfer from Duke after her sophomore year, she was a part of two of BC’s five consecutive runs to the NCAA championship game, and was a major part of the Eagles winning their first title in 2021.
Even in the 12-11 championship-game loss Sunday to North Carolina, North put on an impressive show: four goals and an additional six shots even while being quadruple-teamed by the Tar Heels. Every time North zoomed into opponents’ territory, the defense would tense up, and all attention turned toward her — and she still made highlight-reel plays.
“Kudos to her,” said Jamie Ortega, North Carolina’s leading scorer and five-time All-American. “She’s the best player I’ve ever played against.”
That alone is impressive, but North’s impact might be felt most when BC coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein and her staff recruit. Those girls whose youth teams turned out to Alumni Stadium, followed North’s every move, and spent time in their backyards attempting to stickhandle like her — they will remember North.
Even if they don’t play their college lacrosse for the Eagles, they will join other teams, elevating the entire sport. And if they decide not to play college lacrosse, many will play in adult leagues and the like, wanting to continue the joy they felt when trying to emulate their childhood hero.
Women’s lacrosse has had superstars in the past, but North came along at just the right time. There are more avenues for girls to play the game than ever before, with new youth programs springing up annually. More women’s lacrosse is being shown on television and streaming platforms. There were many young lacrosse players who made sure their family’s Memorial Day weekend plans included tuning in to ESPN Sunday afternoon to see North play, the first time the company’s main platform televised the national title game.
North also has been an extremely accessible superstar. BC drew thousands to home games this season, and North and her teammates would spend time afterward with the youngsters in attendance.
“Every time Charlotte, Jenn [Medjid], Belle [Smith], any of them sign an autograph, they are changing a kid’s life,” said Walker-Weinstein. “I’m just so proud that they are not too big for that and don’t have an ego. They take the time to treat those little girls the way they would have been treated.”
Massachusetts has been a women’s lacrosse hotbed for a while. College rosters are dotted with players from the commonwealth, and the club programs here are well-respected nationwide. What North, Walker-Weinstein, and the BC program have done is make that success undeniable to the rest of the country and give current New England youth players an additional boost.
The Women’s Sports Foundation has found that by the age of 14, girls are dropping out of sports at a rate two times that of their male counterparts, with one reason being a lack of role models. North’s success and accessibility will be a reason some of those girls who would have put down their lacrosse stick keep going in the sport.
The other thing North has promoted throughout her college career? Teamwork. She might have been the player those in the stands are there to see, but she always put her Eagles teammates first.
“I have the best teammates in the world, and the hardest part of this is having to walk away from them,” said North after Sunday’s loss. “But I’m forever indebted to them for giving me the memories of a lifetime.”
The young players following the Eagles this season would like to thank North for the same thing.