NCAA DI Women's Final Four: BC Advances
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NCAA DI Women’s Final Four: Dukes, Eagles Advance

The best NCAA DI Women’s Final Four games I’ve ever seen took place yesterday on a beautiful Friday evening in May. James Madison would take on North Carolina, beating the Tarheels for the second time this season.

stony brook universityA little while later, the Boston College Eagles upset perennial powerhouse Maryland in a battle that went down to the wire. Both matches were full of fire with over 25 goals scored per game.

This Friday evening also happened to be my daughter Everett’s first birthday. She climbed up on my lap as soon as we turned on the JMU-UNC game, turning all her attention (or as much attention as a one year old can!) immediately to players onscreen like Marie McCool and Kristen Gaudian. I felt so lucky to see my daughter drawn to these female athletes because they are truly positive examples for her to learn from and look toward at such a young age.

Look no further than our post-game interview with Kristen Gaudian for a look at what I mean:

NCAA DI Women’s Final Four Recap

James Madison 15, North Carolina 12

Watch this full game on-demand via the NCAA’s YouTube Channel:

NCAA DI Women's Final Four: JMU AdvancesJMU head coach Shelley Klaes-Bawcombe earned her 200th career win on Friday. Kristen Gaudian (3g, 1a), Haley Warden (3a), Hanna Haven (3g) and Katie Kerrigan (3a) led the James Madison Dukes past the UNC Tarheels in the first of two NCAA DI Women’s Lacrosse Semifinal matchups yesterday at Stony Brook University. JMU has not lost to an ACC opponent this season. Jamie Ortega, just a freshman for UNC, finished her season with 70 goals – just two shy of North Carolina’s single-season program record of 72 (Molly Hendrick, ’17).

Clearly it’s the first time that our program gets to make it to the national championship and we really feel like we’ve earned this from the start of the year. I give credit to UNC as they were a tough team. They never backed down and they fought to the end and that’s what great programs do. As far as JMU goes, I think we hit it right out of the gate. I think we really stifled UNC with our energy early and I think that we never looked back from that moment. Total team effort on the offensive end with the team sharing the ball. Haley Warden killed it on the draw today. And our defense just shut them down. Great team effort from JMU.

– Shelley Klaes-Bawcombe, JMU Head Coach

I loved coaching the group that we had this year, we had six seniors and from where we started the year and where we finished, we got better every day, every week and they worked their butts off to do that and to be here.

– Jenny Levy, UNC Head Coach

Boston College 15, Maryland 13

Watch the full game on-demand via the NCAA’s YouTube Channel:

NCAA DI Women's Final Four: BC AdvancesThe Boston College Eagles improved to a 22-1 record by stunning no. 1 Maryland in the second semifinal game of the day. This was the first time in history the Eagles had ever beaten the Terps. Maryland had won eighteen straight and five straight semi-final games prior to the loss.

The Eagles were led by Tewaaraton finalist Sam Apuzzo (4g), Dempsey Arsenault (3g, 2a), Cara Urbank (3g) and Tess Chandler (3g). Apuzzo’s four point performance put her at 122 total points this season, fourth in the NCAA. Terps senior attacker Meghan Whittle finished her career as the program’s all-time leading goal scorer with 298 career goals and 99 points this season.

I’m really excited about the team win tonight and I’m really proud of these girls, they work so hard every day. I told them in the beginning of the game that it was going to take everything that they had. Our cleanest most aggressive lacrosse game to beat Maryland. And I think they really delivered on that. So you know,  Maryland is an excellent opponent. They know exactly what they’re made of. I tried to prepare my girls to give their best effort and I think they did. It was a great game so I’m just really excited and proud.

– Acacia Walker-Weinstein, Boston College HC

Tough to kind of see this group season end and I don’t think any of us were ready for that. You never are. And I’m just proud of what they’ve been able to accomplish this year. You know we’ve come a long way from being as young as we are proud of our senior class and kind of sending them off with with the victories and conference titles and national titles that they have. And I’m just again proud of our growth this season and proud of these two up here.It’s tough it stings but you know I’m fortunate to work with great coaches and to coach some amazing women.

– Cathy Reece, Maryland Head Coach

NCAA DI Women’s Final Four winners Boston College and James Madison will go head-to-head at Stony Brook University this Sunday for the National Championship at 12:00pm Eastern on ESPNU. JMU is 3-0 all-time against BC, but the teams have not met since 1993.

Check out the full NCAA DI Women’s Final Four highlights from both games below: