CARY, N.C. — Despite the many similarities, this year feels different for Boston College. 

Yes, the second-seeded women's lacrosse team beat Syracuse in Friday's national semifinal just like last year and yes, the Eagles will again face Northwestern in Sunday's NCAA Division I championship game.

And, of course, this year's final is also riddled with players from Long Island, with Northwestern rostering three and Boston College rostering seven. 

But the main reason Boston College's seventh straight trip to the final has a new outlook is because the team is more complete, more dangerous than the team that fell short in last year's final.  

Boston College (19-3) has new weapons in its arsenal, namely junior attacker and Virginia transfer Rachel Clark, who recorded five goals in the semifinal win. 

“I really didn't feel any type of resistance from the first practice,” Clark said. “Honestly, I felt like I’ve played with this group forever. Playing with Mckenna [Davis] and Emma [LoPinto] and Kayla [Martello], we're a unit.”

Junior attacker Emma LoPinto (Manhasset) is also new to the Eagles, transferring after two seasons with Florida. LoPinto recorded two early goals in BC’s semifinal win.

“It’s just honestly felt like I've been here forever,” LoPinto said. “Everyone's just been super welcoming and I think we all just play super well together.”

Northwestern (18-2) also has a different feel this year. Yes, they are still championed by reigning Tewaaraton Award winner Izzy Scane, but it wasn't the NCAA career goals leader who led the Wildcats' semifinal win over Florida on Friday. 

Rather, it was sophomore attacker Madison Taylor (Wantagh). She had five goals and dominated the left elbow.

Taylor, who LoPinto said is a close friend of hers from back home, recorded four goals as a freshman in last year’s NCAA title game, an 18-6 Northwestern win. Taylor said this year has a different feel to her, too.

“This year, [I’m] a lot more relaxed and having a lot more fun,” Taylor said. “That was a big thing we talked about, especially in the rain delay [during the semifinal game]. We were just like, ‘We need to celebrate more.’ ”

Taylor and the Wildcats certainly hope to be celebrating after a national championship win on Sunday, but to do so they’ll have to go through an Eagles team packing tons of Long Island-raised talent and a newfound identity.

In LoPinto’s words, this Eagles team just “bought in.”

“I think it’s because we’re hearing about everyone's experiences from the last four years,” she said, “or just even last year, and not being able to be a part of it, but now, you know, being able to kind of get that revenge — I think it's super special.”

Boston College coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein said there’s no need to speak about past losses against the Wildcats with her team. The motivation is already there for the Eagles. LoPinto agreed, saying the loss is something the Eagles have held on their shoulders.

“We’ll utilize the experiences over the last few years to kind of harden us and get smart,” Walker-Weinstein said.  “We’ll do what we always do. We’ll study a lot of the recent film — or maybe all of the film — and look at what they’re doing differently as of lately and create our game plan from probably more the last month or so.”

More lacrosse


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months