This was the first year I tried my hand at a Women's Lacrosse Championship bracket.
I've seen a fair amount of WLAX over the past few years, but I wouldn't by any means consider myself an expert. But the Northeast has been so rich with Women's Lax talent these past few years...and since I filled out my Men's bracket just a few days earlier, I thought I'd give it a shot.
Here are my results...
Let's dive into some of the big storylines that played out this season.
North Carolina goes perfect!
Here's the cliff notes version of the Tar Heels' recent success: in the last ten years, UNC has made at least the NCAA Semifinal every year but two of them. With a 2020 cancellation, that's a 77.8% chance to make it to at least the Final Four. That's gotta be one of the highest in ANY sport, ever. That's due to Jenny Levy's hunger for winning, stemming from her days building the UNC program from the ground-up in 1996. Now, 26 years later, Levy nailed down her third national title and grabbed UNC's first undefeated season in program history.
The Heels finished 22-0, becoming the 11th undefeated national champion in NCAA history, and the first since Maryland did it in 2017. They racked up ranks and ranks on the team leaderboards this year...finishing 2nd in scoring offense, 4th in scoring defense, 1st in assists-per-game, and 4th in clearing percentage. Taylor Moreno played a lockdown goal, improving her career record in the cage to 70-6. Jamie Ortega scored 113 points on the year, breaking her own school record she set in 2019 of 112. This was a lethal UNC team this year, and they're rewarded with hardware.
BC: A valiant effort, and an end to Charlotte North's career
Boston College and UNC were tied 8-8 heading into the 4th quarter. Then it was 10-10. But UNC found a way to put 2 across, to which BC countered late, but they couldn't deliver the tying punch to keep the contest alive. It should be noted that among all the team's major accomplishments this year, Charlotte North's historic college career has now come to an end. North, the Tewaarton Award winner last season, was a major factor in BC's first national title in 2021, as she shattered the D1 record for goals in a single season with 102. She casually added another 92 this year, which piled onto her NCAA all-time record, now standing at 358 goals at the conclusion of her career. There are some players you simply can't forget (Kylie Ohlmiller, Courtney Murphy, and Jen Adams, to name a few) - Charlotte North joins that list. She's going to have an excellent career wherever she wishes to find it.
Honorable mention: Stony Brook
The Seawolves lost 2 of their first four games, then won their next fourteen. How ridiculous is that?! I had Stony Brook, who is 173-34 under legendary head coach Joe Spallina, giving UNC a run for its money in the Quarterfinal, and that pick had some merit to it after Stony Brook held one of the top-scoring offenses in UNC to just 8 goals...before that contest, 14 goals was UNC's season low. Stony Brook has a lot to be proud of this year, including holding 15 of its 19 opponents to single-digit goals, allowing only 15 or more just once this year.
You may know Joe Spallina for his style on the sideline, one of the only coaches in the sport to don a suit & tie on the bench. After the game, he was livid with the NCAA for seeding Stony Brook as the #8 seed...pleading for change and not afraid to speak his mind. "This was - once again - a reflection of a terrible job by the selection committee that the only close game of the whole day was the 1/8 game. It's something that's holding the sport back from truly growing." Watch the full clip here.