The NCAA DI women’s lacrosse Final Four is now complete, with North Carolina, Northwestern, Syracuse, and Boston College the only teams whose national championship dreams remain alive.
The Final Four contests will be played Friday at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson, Maryland, starting with No. 1 North Carolina playing familiar foe No. 4 Boston College at 12 p.m. EST. Following that game’s conclusion, No. 2 Northwestern and No. 3 Syracuse will meet to determine the second participant in the 2021 title decider. Both games will air on ESPNU.
The national championship game will be Sunday at 12 p.m. EST on ESPNU. All games can also be streamed on WatchESPN and the ESPN app.
How did we get here to this chalky, chalky place? All four quarterfinal matchups were played Saturday, and some of the eventual winners had easier times than others. Boston College held a narrow lead over No. 5 Notre Dame at halftime before blowing up in the second half, outscoring the Irish, 13-5, to close out the contest, 21-10, as Charlotte North dominated with eight goals and an assist. The story was similar in Evanston. Northwestern was up on No. 7 Duke by a few at the break, then blew it wide open. The Wildcats allowed the Blue Devils just two scores in the entirety of the second half, and Lauren Gilbert and Izzy Scane combined for 11 goals and two assists as Northwestern waltzed to yet another women’s lacrosse Final Four, 22-10.
No. 6 Florida came closer to Syracuse, keeping it knotted at 5-5 at halftime, but couldn’t maintain into the second half. The Orange scored the first five goals following the break, and the Gators never responded as Syracuse punched its Final Four ticket, 17-11. Emma Ward posted a team-high six goals, while Emma Tyrrell (four goals, two assists) and Meaghan Tyrrell (three goals, three assists) chipped in six points each, too.
No. 8 Stony Brook put up the stiffest fight against its higher-ranked opponent, making UNC sweat much more than it wanted. The Seawolves claimed the opening three scores of the contest in the first seven minutes, though the Tar Heels responded with three quick ones in a five-minute span shortly after. Stony Brook had the game tied, 4-4, close to the end of the first half until UNC hit the net twice in the final minute before the break, including Jamie Ortega’s 79th goal of the campaign with eight ticks to go, to make it 6-4 in North Carolina’s favor.
Stony Brook got it tied again with the first two goals of the second half and even took a lead midway through the final half, 10-8, via a four-goal run capped by a Taryn Ohlmiller score. Ohlmiller netted another one with 8:41 to play to give the Seawolves an 11-9 advantage.
That would be Stony Brook’s final goal. UNC went on a 5-0 run from then on, with Ortega being involved in all three of the run’s first goals that catapulted the Tar Heels back into pole position. The Seawolves couldn’t answer, and North Carolina got back to the NCAA DI women’s lacrosse Final Four, 14-11. Ortega finished with four goals and three assists, and Katie Hoeg had one score with five dimes.
This is UNC women’s lacrosse’s third-straight Final Four appearance and 12th in program history. BC is now in both its fourth Final Four in a row and fourth Final Four ever, and the Eagles are hoping this trip will end with a title rather than a fourth-straight loss in the championship game. For Northwestern, this is the program’s second Championship Weekend in two tries and 12th all-time, and Syracuse is in its first women’s lacrosse Final Four since 2016 and eighth in team history. Of the four programs, only UNC and Northwestern have won the national championship before, though it’s been since 2016 and 2012 for them, respectively.
Now for the other lacrosse news for the week of May 18-24, 2021.
Last Week in Lacrosse
–World Lacrosse officially unveiled the new Sixes format, which will be the one used for a potential Olympics bid.
-The PLL welcomed two big-time injured players back this week, as both Jack Kelly (Redwoods) and Jackson Place (Archers) will be in action for training camp.
-Not to be lost in a sea of amazing DI quarterfinals, the DIII semifinal between RIT and Tufts did not disappoint.
-On the DII front, Lenoir-Rhyne men’s lacrosse will be making its first-ever national championship appearance. The Bears will face Le Moyne.
-Memorial Day Weekend will feature an insane number of ACC teams: six sides from the conference (North Carolina men, Duke men, Virginia men, North Carolina women, Boston College women, and Syracuse women) have qualified for their respective Final Fours, giving the ACC 75% of all participants.
-Despite their loss this weekend, a good look at how Jake Carraway brought Georgetown out of the wilderness and into contention.
–The Inside Lacrosse media All-Americans list dropped this week, headlined by Tewaaraton favorite Jared Bernhardt.
Get Caught Up on LAS Content!
Miss out on what we did last week? Here’s a recap of some of our top content from the last seven days.
May Madness Delivers: DII/DIII Men’s Round Up
Ryan Kuhn takes you through the men’s DII and DIII May Madness, from Saint Anselm knocking off Seton Hill in overtime to Centre upsetting Denison and more.
Why Sixes Makes Dollars & Sense
Nick Zoroya explains why World Lacrosse Sixes, the new format for the sport that World Lacrosse laid out last week, makes dollars and sense for the present and future of lacrosse.
PLL Rookie Spotlights
We’re profiling all 32 players selected in the 2021 PLL College Draft in the days leading up to the league’s training camp. Check out what we’ve put out so far, including analysis on TD Ierlan, Charlie Bertrand, Ryan Tierney, Jeff Teat, and many more.