Belle Smith's 7 Goals Pace Boston College Past Loyola in NCAA Quarterfinals


For the fifth-straight full season, Boston College is heading to the Final Four. The third-seeded Eagles downed sixth-seeded Loyola 20-13 Thursday afternoon in Newton, Mass.

The Eagles (18-3) did it on the back of Belle Smith and Jenn Medjid, who combined for 15 points. Smith’s came on a career-high seven goals, and Medjid tallied five goals and three assists. Charlotte North finished with three goals and three assists.

The 20 goals were the most scored against Loyola (20-2) this season. The Greyhounds end 2022 with a program-record 20 wins. Freshman Georgia Latch netted a hat trick.

Boston College will take on second-seeded Maryland at Homewood Field on Friday, May 27. A win would put the reigning champions in the national title game for the fourth-straight year.

The two teams looked evenly matched in three of four quarters. But BC outscored Loyola 5-1 in the second quarter, and that proved to be the difference-maker.

The run actually began in the first quarter when Smith’s buzzer-beating goal broke a 4-4 tie. Jenn Medjid opened the second stanza by scoring while falling down and then found Smith for a goal. It was the third tally in 68 seconds for the Eagles, who took a 7-4 lead with 13:52 until halftime.

They weren’t done.

Smith struck again at 12:59, and McKenna Davis found Kayla Martello charging towards the net at 11:09 to cap a string of five unanswered goals that put Boston College in front 9-4.

It wasn’t all offense, though. BC’s defense came alive. The Greyhounds, who entered the game averaging less than 13 turnovers per game, committed 16 against BC, including four during the 5-0 run.

“We don’t have those opportunities unless our defense does their job, and they did such a great job today,” said Boston College head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein.

The Greyhounds ended a nearly 10-minute scoring drought when Elli Kluegel scored at 5:41, but Medjid’s second goal of the day came in the final minute of the half and put BC up 10-5 at halftime.

“I think it’s important to go into halftime with momentum, and it's important to come out halftime with momentum,” said Walker-Weinstein.

The Eagles got the first part down, but Loyola didn’t go quietly.

The Greyhounds won the first five draw controls of the third quarter and 24 of 36 overall. They began the second half with a 4-1 run, pulling to within two when Chase Boyle’s overpass breezed by BC goalie Rachel Hall at 8:56 of the third quarter.

It was a lucky break — one you’d circle in the box score and come back to if Loyola went on to win. But that didn’t happen. Another Smith goal put the Eagles back up by three.

Then, turnovers began to plague Loyola again. The Greyhounds committed turnovers on four-straight possessions in the third quarter. On two occasions, the Eagles made them pay. First, Courtney Taylor got the ball from Kluegel, and Cassidy Weeks hit Medjid for a goal at 5:10. Another Kluegel miscue led to a Smith score with six seconds on the clock to give BC a 14-9 lead at the end of the third.

“Everything happens through our defense,” Smith said. “They're the ones that get the ground balls. They're the ones that get the caused turnovers. They're the one that starts the transition, so every single thing you see on the offensive end just comes from the momentum they bring from the defense.”

Rosenzweig scored the first goal of the fourth quarter. Sydni Black tried to get BC back within three on a free position shot, but a Hall save preserved the lead. Smith found an open lane on the other end and scored her sixth of the day, and the Eagles went up 15-10 with 11:27 to play. A Hollie Schleicher goal at 10:57 knocked All-American goalie Kaitlyn Larsson out of the game in favor of freshman Laura Spence, who had played about 135 minutes this season. Larsson returned with BC up 18-13 with under five minutes left.

Ultimately, it didn’t matter who was in net. Boston College’s offense had done enough to slow the game down and kill time to secure the win. But just for good measure, North buried one last shot from the 8-meter, the last she’d score at home in her transcendental collegiate career. And Smith, the emerging star, put an exclamation point on the affair with her seventh goal in the waning seconds.


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