There were three Champions crowned in the college lacrosse world today, Championship Sunday. Teams lifted the gold trophy in Women’s Division I, Men’s Division II, and Men’s Division III. Two of them were even first time national champions in their schools history. Here’s your recap of all the day’s championship action and a look at the three programs who stood tall last in their class in 2021
Women’s Division I: Boston College 16-10 Syracuse
- The Eagles finally broke through after so many near-misses. Four years ago Boston College was the ultimate underdog on Championship Weekend. They had only won 2 NCAA Tournament games in their history. They were unseeded. And yet in a bottom half of the bracket that saw seeds go 1-4, the Eagles emerged and got all the way to Championship Sunday where they pushed one of the all time great teams, the 23-0 Maryland Terrapins, to the limit and came up just short 16-13. The next year they were a power. Sam Apuzzo won the Tewaaraton Award, they were 19-1 going into the tournament, they slayed the Maryland dragon in the Semifinals 15-13, but lost a nailbiter to fellow upstart James Madison by a goal. One year later they rode back yet again with another dominant team, as the #2 seed their highest in team history...and yet again on Sunday Maryland denied them. Three straight years they came up short on the sport’s biggest stage. Today was a different day. Powered by a tremendous 7-2 second half that saw pinpoint ball movement and off ball cutting and a defense that struggled through much of the year turning in one of the best Final Four defensive performances in recent memory through relentless, clean pressure and great groundball work, they finally got their moment in the sun (even if it wasn’t sunny in Towson this weekend. It’s a story of heart, competitive spirit, and resilience. Resilience. To keep coming back year after year after so many heartbreaks and not let them discourage them or hang each ensuing May was a sign of a resilient and relentless program under Acacia Walker-Weinstein, the preeminent young coach in all of college lacrosse now, that would not be denied. Finally, they reached the summit.
- Charlotte North made history breaking the single season NCAA goals record of 100 set by Courtney Murphy in 2016. She had a whopping 6 goals today and finished with an incredible 102 for the season. She was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament
- Rachel Hall, who had a 39% save percentage entering the Final Four, was great again with 9 saves and culminated an incredible Championship Weekend of 21 saves and a 51% save percentage, plus strong out of the cage play as well
- Cara Urbank, Belle Smith, Courtney Weeks, and Jenn Medjid all had 2 goals as well. Special shoutout to Smith, who played amazing two way lacrosse this weekend. Was super impressed by her defensive play in addition to the evident elite skill she possesses. She’s a star.
- More will come in our tournament debrief on Tuesday, but I had tons of fun at Towson this weekend. The women’s Final Four has become a premier event on not just the lacrosse calendar but the college sports one. Great games and great energy from the fans in attendance as well. Towson is also a great venue for these games and for future NCAA Men’s Quarterfinals as well. Highly recommend catching a game there if you haven’t. No bad seat in the house and several cool spots and sightlines if you’re willing to stand
Men’s Division II: Le Moyne 12-6 Lenoir-Rhyne
- The Le Moyne dynasty continues. The Dolphins won their 6th national championship since 2004, and 3rd in the last eight NCAA Championships. They completed a perfect 15-0 season.
- Matt Hutchings had six goals to lead the Dolphins
- Senior Frank Delia had a brilliant performance, with 15 saves
- The Dolphins defense was the story of the tournament, as they allowed just 22 goals in the entire championship
- Le Moyne’s 6th Championship breaks a tie with Limestone and leaves them solo 2nd for Division II National Championships all time. They are one way from tying Adelphi for most Division II National Championships in history
Men’s Division III: RIT 14-13 Salisbury
- In an absolute classic game, RIT joined Boston College as finally breaking through and winning their first national championship, taking down D3 superpower Salisbury in double overtime. The Tigers were down one with 20 seconds to go and did not have the ball, but forced a turnover and scored in transition for a stunning game tying goal. Then, after having two cracks at winning the game in overtime and being denied, Dawson Tait fed Ryan Barnable out in front off an endline restart who finished to give the Tigers a long awaited first national championship and perfect season at 14-0.
- The Tigers had come up short in 2013 and 2017, including losing by eight to this same Salisbury dynasty in the latter year. They also made Final Fours in 2011, 2014, 2015, and 2018. This marks the 3rd consecutive year that a first time champion has been crowned in Division III, the first time that has happened in the history of the Championship
- Quinn Commandant was incredible for RIT, with 5 goals and 2 assists, including the game tying goal with 12 seconds left in regulation
- Salisbury’s loss means that for the first time since 1993, a Sea Gulls senior class did not win a national championship. This is technically cheating, as the COVID year meant the Class of 2021 only played in three NCAA Tournaments as compared to the customary four that all those up until the Class of 2020 before them did. But it does show what an incredible, only matched by a few others in the history of the game run that program has had for over a quarter century now. It wouldn’t be surprising at all to see them celebrating on this day next year.
Congratulations to all teams on tremendous seasons and to the national champions! There’s one more game left in this incredible year; Virginia and Maryland for the Men’s D1 National Championship tomorrow at 1 on ESPN2.