Title IX in Action

BC's Destiny

2021 National Champions

BC's Destiny - 2021 National Champions

Boston College (16) vs Syracuse (10)

Equity IX - SportsOgram logo is red and blue IX refers to Title IX © Equity IX - SportsOgram - Leigh Ernst Friestedt

Article and photos by Leigh Ernst Friestedt

Two female lacrosse players draw a yellow lacrosse ball to start the 2021 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship Game - #8 Charlotte North (Boston College) vs #8 Syracuse - the yellow lacrosse ball is on the yellow strings of Syracuse player and flipping backwards over her shoulder © Equity IX - SportsOgram - Leigh Ernst Friestedt
Charlotte North (BC) draws against Katelyn Mashewske (Syracuse) - 2021 National Championship

Boston College's Destiny

Every team dreams of winning a National Championship, but only a select few will experience this reality. After three consecutive NCAA Championship Game appearances, Boston College finally broke through to capture the program’s first national title in 2021. The 16-10 win against Syracuse marked a milestone and fulfilled BC’s destiny to become National Champions.

Charlotte North

Charlotte scores opening goal

Dream Big

Boston College’s journey to become National Champions started a decade ago under Head Coach, Acacia Walker-Weinstein. The All-American Maryland graduate took over the Eagles program in 2012 with a dream to win a National Championship.

BC Head Coach: Acaci Walker-Weinstein
Boston College Head Coach - Acacia Walker-Weinstein cuts lacrosse goal net with scissors after winning 2021 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship with a big smile, BC Lacrosse hat and National Championship shirt © Equity IX - SportsOgram - Leigh Ernst Friestedt

Acacia Walker-Weinstein

“We had a dream a long time ago that we were going to win a championship, and people told us we were crazy.”

BC entered the 2021 season focused on a National Championship, but faced an uphill battle after graduating an outstanding class in 2019. During the abbreviated 2020 season, BC lost to UMass, USC and Notre Dame before the season was shut down due to the pandemic. But the 2020 losses translated into an opportunity to develop and provided BC time to integrate top recruits and transfers onto the team.

Road to a National Championship

BC’s journey to a National Championship was not easy. After losing three consecutive NCAA Championship Games (2017, ’18 & ’19), the Eagles graduated three of the best players in the history of women’s lacrosse: Sam Apuzzo, Kenzie Kent and Dempsey Arsenault – many questioned whether BC could ever reach such heights again.

But Acacia Walker-Weinstein turned the page in the BC history book and focused on a new team led by veterans (Cara Urbank and Jill Reilly) layered with talented recruits and key transfers (Charlotte North and Rachel Hall).

Devastated by the losses, Acacia consulted with colleague, Jerry York, the winningest ice hockey coach. BC learned to trust the process – believe in each other and understand that at the right time – all of the pieces would come together.

Boston College draw team - #28 Hollie Schleicher, #26 Cara Urbank and #8 Charlotte North come together with arms and lacrosse sticks raised to huddle before a big draw against UNC in red jerseys - 2021 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Final Four © Equity IX - SportsOgram - Leigh Ernst Friestedt
BC draw team: Charlotte North, Cara Urbank, Hollie Schleicher

Captains Jill Reilly and Cara Urbank served as leaders, and Charlotte North was the blessing who fit perfectly with the program. Charlotte was the right player at the right time to help the Eagles win their first National Championship.

#8 Charlotte North (Boston College) runs through the midfield with yellow lacrosse ball in stick after winning the draw against Syracuse with one player on the ground and #24 chasing Charlotte - 2021 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship Game © Equity IX - SportsOgram - Leigh Ernst Friestedt
Charlotte North wins draw against Syracuse

Texas Transfers

Charlotte North transferred to Boston College from Duke in 2019 after her sophomore season with one goal in mind – to win a National Championship. The arrival of Charlotte North coincided perfectly with the departure of BC’s superstar trio: Sam Apuzzo, Kenzie Kent and Dempsey Arsenault.

#8 Charlotte North (Boston College) shoots lacrosse ball by extending her black lacrosse stick right handed with muscles in arm and yellow ball firing out of the stick in the air - 2021 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship Game © Equity IX - SportsOgram - Leigh Ernst Friestedt
Charlotte North scores goal 101 to break NCAA record

In addition to Charlotte North, Boston College transferred in goalie, Rachel Hall from Oregon in 2019. North and Hall came from a less traditional lacrosse haven which is now gaining national attention – Texas. The superstar attacker and goalie watched the 2019 Championship Game against Maryland and knew BC was the program for them to go after a national title.

Find a Way to Win

At the heart of BC’s success was an appreciation for how hard it is to win. Despite years of success, the Eagles never won an ACC or NCAA title. Having already lost to UNC and Syracuse (twice) during the 2021 season – the Eagles took nothing for granted heading into Championship Weekend, where they met both teams again.

#12 Ally Mastroianni (UNC) draws against #8 Charlotte North (Boston College) both lacrosse sticks are in the air as the players look up for the ball - 2021 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Final Four © Equity IX - SportsOgram - Leigh Ernst Friestedt
Charlotte North (BC) draws against Ally Mastroianni (UNC) - 2021 Final Four

The losses were critical to BC’s ultimate success – they forced the Eagles to reassess and find new ways to win. UNC defeated BC 21-9 early in the 2021 season, but the Eagles were a much stronger team and peaking when they took on the number one seed at the Final Four.

#45 Sydney Scales (Boston College defender) forces #3 Jamie Ortega (UNC) away from her dominant left side cradling yellow lacrosse ball one handed in the rain - 2021 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Final Four © Equity IX - SportsOgram - Leigh Ernst Friestedt
Sydney Scales (BC) defends Jamie Ortega (UNC) - 2021 NCAA Semi-Finals

UNC was a on 27 game win streak heading into Championship Weekend. The last time UNC lost was in the same game at the 2019 NCAA Semi-Finals, when the Eagles defeated the Tar Heels 15-14 in double-overtime.

Boston College women's lacrosse team celebrates after #2 Sam Apuzzo scores winning goal in overtime - #26 Cara Urbank (Boston College) soars above all of the other players with her lacrosse extended and braided ponytail - 2019 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Final Four © Equity IX - SportsOgram - Leigh Ernst Friestedt
2019 Final Four: BC defeats UNC (15-14) - 2OT

The 2021 Semi-Finals rematch, proved to be another devastating blow to the Tar Heels who lost by one goal 10-11. The undefeated UNC squad was expected to go all the way this year, but met a fearless BC team who was determined to Find a Way to Win.

Key to BC’s win against UNC was the Eagles defense who stepped up and held the Tar Heels to 10 goals. The younger BC defense played like veterans with Freshman, Sydney Scales, shutting down UNC’s powerhouse attacker, Jamie Ortega.

#3 Jamie Ortega (UNC) looks to pass lacrosse ball but is tightly defended by #45 Sydney Scales (Boston College) cross checking Jamie's right arm and forcing her away from the goal - 2021 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Final Four © Equity IX - SportsOgram - Leigh Ernst Friestedt
Freshman defender Sydney Scales (BC) shuts down UNC superstar attacker Jamie Ortega (UNC

Rachel Hall also stepped up in goal for the Eagles, making a season-high 11 saves against UNC. Hall’s outstanding performance in the cage carried over to the Championship Game against Syracuse with big saves serving as a catalyst for the BC attack to score at the other end.

#1 Rachel Hall (Boston College Goalie) takes yellow lacrosse ball back in preparation to clear the yellow lacrosse ball from behind the goal wearing gold jersey and black helmet with "Boston College" in gold lettering across the back with ponytail sticking out of the helmet - 2021 NCAA Women's Lacrosse © Equity IX - SportsOgram - Leigh Ernst Friestedt
Rachel Hall - BC Goalie

Full Team Effort

But beyond the superstar perforce of Charlotte North, who captured every possible award in women’s lacrosse this year, the entire BC team won the National Championship. Charlotte plays fearlessly and performs at the highest level under pressure which exemplifies a true champion. But more importantly, Charlotte raises the level of play of her teammates – striking the perfect balance between intensity, focus and fun.

#7 Caitlynn Mossman (Boston College) looks to pass the yellow lacrosse ball left handed wearing goggles from behind the cage with #7 Kerry Defliese (Syracuse) wearing a helmet with bright orange S on side - 2021 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship Game © Equity IX - SportsOgram - Leigh Ernst Friestedt
Caitlynn Mossman (BC attack) vs Kerry Defliese (Syracuse defense)

The 2021 Championship Game marked the fourth time BC and Syracuse met during the season. The Orange led the series 2-1, but BC was finally figuring out how to defend against Syracuse’s weave attack.

#18 Meaghan Tyrrell (Syracuse) drives to goal left handed with a bandage around her right calf against #45 Sydney Scales (Boston College) - 2021 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship Game © Equity IX - SportsOgram - Leigh Ernst Friestedt
Meaghan Tyrrell (Syracuse attack) vs Sydney Scales (BC defense)

Syracuse came out firing, but lost momentum when Emma Tyrrell fouled out with a second yellow card midway through the first half. Already compensating for the loss of top players: Emily Hawryschuk and Megan Carney (due to ACL injuries), Syracuse came up short on attack and could not hold off the high-powered BC team.

#42 Hunter Roman (Boston College) falls on top of #18 Meaghan Tyrrell (Syracuse) at the goal line of the crease both lacrosse sticks falling out of their hands and the yellow lacrosse ball bouncing in the crease - 2021 NCAA Women's Lacrosse National Championship © Equity IX - SportsOgram - Leigh Ernst Friestedt
BC defender Hunter Roman fights for ball vs Syracuse attacker Meaghan Terrell

The Eagles put together a full team effort for the entire game, never letting up until the last whistle to fulfill BC’s destiny and become 2021 National Champions. Charlotte North led the team with 6 goals, breaking the NCAA record for most goals scored in a single-season 102, but the victory represented years of hard work by previous BC student-athletes and a dedicated coaching staff.

Family

The 2021 National Championship represented a win not just for the players on the team but for the entire BC Family. Alumnae, parents and fans travelled from all over the country during a pandemic on Memorial Day weekend to support the Eagles.

Boston College women's lacrosse team lines up and slaps each others hands announcing starting lineup with Eagles and player's numbers on the backs - 2021 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship Game © Equity IX - SportsOgram - Leigh Ernst Friestedt

The sold-out reduced capacity stadium was packed with former teammates and their parents who had come within one game of winning a national title, but failed to reach the pinnacle of success. When BC finally won – the 2021 team literally handed the Championship trophy to the Eagles in the stands.

Female Boston College alumnae wearing bright yellow t-shirts and BC baseball hats cheer and celebrate with the NCAA National Champion trophy after Boston College wins the teams first National Championship by defeating Syracuse - 2021 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship Game © Equity IX - SportsOgram - Leigh Ernst Friestedt
BC alumns celebrate 2021 National Championship

The BC culture is built around a Family. Acacia’s family is part of the team with her children often attending practice, games and virtual press conferences. Additionally, the BC team has multiple generations of student-athletes and coaches from the same family:

  • Courtney and Cassidy Weeks
  • Annie and Erin Walsh (Christine Walsh ’19)
  • Kenzie (’19) and Addison Kent – daughters of Assistant Coach, Jennifer Kent
  • Hollie Schleicher and Belle Smith – cousins

In their hearts, the previous teams never finished what they set out to accomplish, which served as inspiration for the Eagles to break through and win the National Championship.

We dedicate this win to all the alumni, all the people who came before us, the coaches, the staff, the administration, everyone who has worked so hard to get us to this point and get us through that threshold. And this win is for them. They created this foundation and the culture of BC lacrosse.” Hollie Schleicher

Winning a National Championship during a pandemic required many sacrifices. Perhaps the greatest sacrifice was players being restricted from seeing their families. So, when the Eagles finally held up the Championship trophy and embraced – the BC family was together again.

BC's Legacy

BC’s Destiny has opened a new chapter in the history of women’s lacrosse. For Acacia Walker-Weinstein, 2021 represented her first National Championship. BC’s Associate Coach, Kayla Treanor, replaced Gary Gait as the Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach at her alma mater Syracuse, and Sam Apuzzo stepped up as Assistant Coach at BC.

Kayla Treanor coaches Cara Urbank with Sam Apuzzo - 2021 Championship Game

With an extra year of eligibility, Charlotte North will return to BC for 2022 to go after a second national title and continue the BC Legacy with her teammates. Lots of records were broken in 2021, but the most important one was Boston College winning its first National Championship.

#8 Charlotte North and Boston College team celebrate winning 2021 NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship raising the NCAA National Champions trophy n the air to share with fans
2021 National Champions - Boston College
Equity IX - SportsOgram logo is red and blue IX refers to Title IX © Equity IX - SportsOgram - Leigh Ernst Friestedt

Check out more game photos and Boston College articles on SportsOgram

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