Taylor's Takes: What a Ride it Was

PHOTO BY JOHN STROHSACKER

Hollie Schleicher (left) and Charlotte North celebrate winning BC's first NCAA title.


Taylor Cummings is a three-time Tewaaraton winner, a member of Team USA and the head coach at McDonogh (Md.) . "Taylor's Takes" is presented by Gait Lacrosse. Be legendary.

Another Championship Weekend in the books — and what a ride it was.

Both games on Final Four Friday featured upsets, with top-seeded North Carolina and second-seeded Northwestern each being handed their first losses of the season.

Although North Carolina dominated the draw circle and kept Boston College’s Charlotte North fairly quiet in the weekend’s first game, Boston College was able to squeeze out an upset victory thanks to the spectacular play in cage by Rachel Hall and the quiet dominance of Jenn Medjid on the offensive end.

North Carolina fought until the last second, closing within one goal with 1.3 seconds left, but it was unfortunately too late for the Tar Heels. Although they didn’t win, the 2021 Tar Heels will go down as one of the most talented collegiate teams to ever hit the field.

With the victory for Boston College, Acacia Walker-Weinstein and the Eagles headed towards their fourth straight national championship game appearance with only one thing on their minds — finally winning it all.

In the second game of the afternoon, Syracuse got out to a hot offensive start and never looked back. The Orange were able to dissect the backer zone of Northwestern and remained poised in the clearing game against the Wildcats’ 12-woman ride. What was most impressive to me about Syracuse’s play on the offensive end was how easily and quickly the Orange shared the ball. Frankly, they put on an offensive clinic for a full 60 minutes, and it was so entertaining to watch.

But with around 10 minutes left, the Wildcats got back some life thanks to draw wins and quality shooting from Izzy Scane and brought the score within three. But a missed shot and save on the doorstep by Asa Goldstock led to a fast break goal for the Orange, and they never looked back.

In the end, the last game of the season came down to two powerhouse programs in Boston College and Syracuse — each of whom had been to the national stage multiple times but had never won it all. A new national champion was going to be crowned, which brought an extra level of excitement to Sunday’s match.

Syracuse and Boston College were fairly well matched in the first half despite the Orange losing Emma Tyrrell with 11 minutes remaining due to a second yellow card. Both offenses put the ball away, both defenses made big stops and both draw teams fought for each possession when the first half closed.

But once the second half began, it was all Boston College. The Eagles dominated possession off the draw, created havoc on the ride and defensive end and made the most of their offensive possessions. Slowly, they pulled farther and farther away until the game was out of reach and the final whistle blew.

After three years of heartbreak, Walker-Weinstein and her team finally won the elusive national title. It was also great to see Kayla Treanor and Sam Apuzzo, Boston College assistants and amazing players, win a title after so many years of hard work and heartbreak. What a special day for them all!

Congratulations on a spectacular season, Boston College, and to all of the teams that competed this season! We are already counting down the days until the 2022 season begins.







Taylor’s Top Players

Katie Hoeg, North Carolina

Hoeg was lights out all season long and was clearly the veteran leader on the offensive end that the Tar Heels relied upon to be their calm in the storm. With the game on the line late in the second half, Hoeg did everything in her power to will North Carolina to a comeback victory.

She scored two key goals — one off a sweet pull under dodge and the other off a quick backdoor cut — to pull the game within two before Ally Mastroianni was able to score with under two seconds to cut the deficit in half. Although Hoeg didn’t end her career with a national championship, she will be all over the North Carolina and NCAA record books with her outstanding play as both a feeder and scorer. She has a ton to be proud of.

Rachel Hall, Boston College

What a weekend for Rachel Hall to have her best game of the season.

On Friday afternoon, she frustrated the North Carolina shooters time and time again thanks to her quick hands and fast feet that gave her the ability to drop down for low shots in an instant. Hall needed to have a spectacular game for the Eagles to have a shot at beating the undefeated Tar Heels, and she delivered in every single aspect, finishing the game with 11 saves.

She then continued her dominance with nine more saves in the national championship game, as she and the Eagles secured a national title for the first time.

Jenn Medjid, Boston College

Medjid may be one of my favorite players in all of Division I lacrosse. She rarely gets the public credit, but she does all of the little things right that don’t always show up on a stat sheet.

Medjid did in fact show up for Boston College in a big way statistically on Friday with four goals, but it was her cutting and movement on the offensive end that impressed me most. She and Hall were the reasons Boston College won Friday night, as Medjid’s consistent and selfless play on the offensive end carried the Eagles through until the end. That consistency carried through to Sunday, as she put away two goals and tallied one assist and earned herself a national championship.

Ella Simkins, Syracuse

Syracuse’s Ella Simkins, like Boston College’s Jenn Medjid, might be one of the most underrated players in the country.

Her ability to not only be a leader on the defensive end but also have an impact on the draw circle is nothing short of impressive. Simkins is explosive and gritty in the midfield and can play solid and clean defense in the Orange’s patented high pressure backer zone. She ended the weekend with 12 draw controls, five ground balls and three caused turnovers.

Brennan Dwyer, Northwestern

In a game in which winning the draw meant so much, Northwestern’s Brennan Dwyer did everything she possibly could to have a positive impact in the circle.

She was able to bring new life to the Wildcats with her ability to not only control the ball herself but also place it well on the circle for her teammates. Dwyer’s five draw control wins came at pivotal moments in the game when Northwestern needed the ball to start and keep momentum.

Being a center in a big game is so hard, but she stepped up with poise and a lot of heart.

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