D-I Women's Rewind: Observations and Analysis from NCAA Quarterfinals

PHOTO BY JOHN KONSTANTARAS


In a year of parity across the Division I women’s lacrosse landscape, the top four seeds are the last ones standing.

North Carolina, Maryland, Boston College and Northwestern are off to Homewood Field in Baltimore for this weekend’s NCAA semifinals, with a 2022 champion being crowned Sunday afternoon.

NCAA SEMIFINALS
ALL TIMES EASTERN

(1) North Carolina vs. (4) Northwestern, 3 p.m.
(2) Maryland vs. (3) Boston College, 5 p.m.

How’d we get here? It was a mostly ho-hum quarterfinal round, with the lone nailbiter coming between top-seeded North Carolina and eighth-seeded Stony Brook. The Seawolves led the Tar Heels at halftime but couldn’t find their offense in the second half of an 8-5 loss.

So, despite a few warranted gripes about the bracket upon its release, it would seem that — for the most part — the NCAA Selection Committee was correct in determining the top four teams in the country. Whether those top four teams were seeded in the right order will be determined in just a few days.

Before we look too far ahead to the most exciting weekend in lacrosse, let’s take a look back at last Thursday’s quarterfinals.

BEST GAME

Stony Brook nearly upsets North Carolina

While Maryland, Boston College and Northwestern raced to relatively easy wins on Thursday, it was unbeaten North Carolina that faced the toughest quarterfinal test. Perhaps Joe Spallina again had a legitimate case to be made for a higher national seed, especially after leading the Tar Heels 4-3 at halftime.

His tricky zone defense stymied one of the nation’s top offenses and even held likely Tewaaraton Award favorite Jamie Ortega without a goal on the night. As good as the zone was, the offense couldn’t keep up, and North Carolina pulled away late for an 8-5 win.

NOTABLE NEAR-MISS

Loyola runs out of steam

A popular pick to earn an upset victory over Boston College, Loyola lost by seven goals but looked to be in contention early. The Greyhounds were within two goals at 11-9 with 8:56 left in the third quarter, but the Eagles opened it up by scoring five of the next six.

Loyola enjoyed a historically great season, winning 20 games and watching Livy Rosenzweig climb up the program record book. A veteran-laden team, there are still very intriguing young talents — Sydni Black and Georgia Latch chief among them — coming back next year.







BIGGEST SURPRISE

Only one close game

With all eight national seeds alive in the quarters and two rematches highlighting the quarterfinal slate, it was surprising to only see one close game.

Maryland blew out Florida in a rematch of a late-February contest, and the Northwestern-Syracuse rematch was similarly one-sided. Boston College and Loyola played it close for a little more than 30 minutes, but the BC offense exploded down the stretch.

Not having an upset doesn’t mean the weekend lacked excitement, but the bracket has essentially been all chalk thus far.

BEST INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCES

Belle Smith and Jenn Medjid, Boston College: The BC duo was unstoppable, combining for 12 goals (on 15 shots) and three assists. Smith scored seven times, and Medjid had five goals and three assists.

Madison Doucette, Northwestern: A 15-4 blowout win might not indicate a standout performance from the winning team’s goalie, but Doucette made 11 stops against a strong Syracuse offense.

Libby May, Maryland: Make it three straight games with five goals for May, who has 18 points in that same span. She’s shot better than 50 percent in her last six contests.

Shaylan Ahearn, Maryland: Ahearn controlled 11 draws and continued her late-season surge in the circle, helping the Terps dominate possession.

Andie Aldave, North Carolina: On a night her team only scored eight goals, Aldave had a hand in five of them. She scored three times on her own and assisted two others, and her fourth-quarter spark was much needed.

TEWAARATON WATCH

Jamie Ortega, North Carolina: Ortega was held largely in check by Stony Brook, only notching one assist and shooting 0-for-3. She instead helped UNC by leading the team with four gournd balls.

Ally Mastroianni, North Carolina: Like her teammate, Mastroianni was also limited against the Seawolves. She secured a game-high five draw controls and shot 0-for-2.

Charlotte North, Boston College: The reigning Tewaaraton Award winner had three goals and three assists in the Eagles’ 20-13 win over Loyola. She was third on the team in points behind Jenn Medjid and Belle Smith.

Aurora Cordingley, Maryland: Faceguarded for much of the game by former Maryland defender Cat Flaherty, Cordingley still managed three goals in a blowout win over Florida.

Meaghan Tyrrell, Syracuse: Tyrrell is the lone finalist not playing on Championship Weekend, though it’s no fault of her own. She scored three goals in a 15-4 loss to Northwestern and finishes her season with 111 points (78 goals, 33 assists).

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