SYRACUSE – Canisius College found out Friday why the Atlantic Coast Conference is the best women’s lacrosse league in the nation.
The Golden Griffins were blitzed, 21-9, by 12th-ranked Boston College in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Boston College was the ACC’s third best team this season, and the ACC put six schools in the 26-team NCAA tournament.
The Golden Eagles also did what no other Canisius opponent was able to do this year: shut down Erica Evans.
Evans, who led the nation in goals with 76 in 19 games, was held to just one assist, and that came with 1:25 left in the game.
“This one stings, definitely,” said Canisius coach Scott Teeter. “For the returning players, they’re going to remember this. They were confident going in. They really believed they could pull an upset today. We didn’t have our best effort. They’re going to learn from this. It’s not going to be forgotten when we get back to Buffalo.”
It was the sixth time in the last seven years Canisius made the NCAA Tournament as the champion of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. And it was the sixth time the Griffs were eliminated in the first round.
Most of the previous NCAA losses were close. The Griffs suffered one-goal defeats in 2012 and 2013. They gave No. 10 ranked Cornell a tough game last year, losing 15-11. This was the Griffs’ largest NCAA margin of defeat.
Boston College (14-6), which went 5-4 in games against top 20 teams this year, had too many offensive weapons.
The Griffs took a 5-2 lead 13:30 into the game. Boston College scored the next six goals and took a 10-7 lead into halftime. The second half was a Golden Eagles rout.
“We wanted to switch up our defenses, go in and out of three different defenses and see which one was working,” Teeter said. “To be honest with you, none of them really worked. We had a lot of holes, especially the back side.”
The Griffs (15-5) tired in the second half.
“We’re trying to run 13 girls,” Teeter said. “They were subbing girls in and out of the game frequently, and I think we got exhausted. You could really see that. We couldn’t stop their runs.”
Defending Evans: Boston College used sophomore Hannah Hyatt to face-guard Evans all over the field. Evans, a junior averaging 6.6 shots a game, took only two shots.
“I thought the girl did a very good job,” Evans said of Hyatt. “She was staying right on me. There were some times when I felt I was open and could have got the ball, but she did a good job defending me. Their defense was good and kept us from being able to get the right looks.”
“Today was a difficult day for her,” Teeter said. “When we did get her the ball, she had a couple point-blank shots she missed the net with, which is unusual for Erica.”
Top Griff: Jen Reininger, a junior who transferred from Syracuse, led Canisius with four goals, bringing her season total to 46. She did a lot of creating from the top of the offensive zone.
“With Ricky being face-guarded it definitely shifted the focus of our offense,” Reininger said. “We depend on her a lot for a lot of games. As another middie up top, I realized I’m going to have to start some movement.”
“She was challenging their defense,” Teeter said of Reininger. “She’s a driver, and she was attacking hard. I would have loved to seen some other players take the ball as hard to the goal as she did.”
Team Canada: Teeter is the coach of the Canadian national team that will play in the Women’s Lacrosse World Cup in England July 12-22. Evans is on the team. Then those two will represent Canada in late July at the World Games in Poland.
In the house: The game was played before about 300 mostly Canisius fans at the Syracuse soccer stadium.
Up next: Boston College meets No. 8 Syracuse at 3 p.m. Sunday.