Chandler found the strength to bounce back for BC

Boston College
Tess Chandler, left,shown celebrating a lacrosse moment with a Boston College teammate, had her finest season a year after suffering a devastating injury.

Boston College
Tess Chandler

Boston College women’s lacrosse attacker Tess Chandler’s 2017 season ended in the fourth game when she suffered a devastating injury, tearing the ACL and MCL ligaments and meniscus in her knee.

Rest, surgery, and 11 months of rehabilitation left her with just over a week to prepare for the 2018 season, which turned out to be the three-year captain’s finest in an BC uniform.

Chandler helped lead the team to a 22-2 record and into the championship game of the NCAA Division 1 tournament, a 16-15 loss to James Madison May 27. She scored 14 goals in four NCAA contests, including two late tallies in the quarterfinals vs. Stony Brook that tied the score and enabled BC to win in overtime.


For the season, she had 50 goals and two assists, the best offensive output of her college career.

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On March 7 at the University of Southern California, the 6-foot 22-year-old showed she was back. She scored four times, including the tying goal with one minute remaining in regulation and the winner one minute into overtime.

“Tess is one of the most courageous players I have ever coached,’’ said BC head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein. “To come back that strong was just tremendous, and she was determined that nothing would stop her.’’

BC’s roster also included junior starting defender Christina Walsh of Franklin (St. Mark’s School), whom Walker-Weinstein called “a rising star.’’

Chandler received an undergraduate degree last year in communications, and last month a masters in executive leadership and organizational development.


At Hopkinton High, Chandler captained the girls volleyball, basketball, and lacrosse teams. The latter won a state title her sophomore year. She had career high school lacrosse totals of 284 goals and 116 assists.

Her mother, Jerrie (Bernier) Chandler, played varsity basketball at the University of Massachusetts; her sister, Elise, is a rising senior at the University of New Hampshire and starting defender on the women’s lacrosse team; and her brother, Mitch, is a junior lacrosse player at Hopkinton High.

Q. What adjustments did you have to make this season?

A. My role was switched on the attack. I became more of an inside cutter as opposed to a dodger. Because of my knee, I had lost some agility, so I became someone who waited for opportunities from the feeders where before, I created more one-on-one opportunities.

Q. Did your offensive performance exceed your expectations?

A. I came in with no expectations. I was told by my coaches and peers that you cannot compare yourself to before with an ACL tear, that you would be a different player. So if I got frustrated, I thought how grateful I was to be back.

Q. What effect did the USC win have on you?

A. It was a relief. I had been working so hard to get back to where I could be a valuable contributor. It gave me confidence and my teammates more trust in me. It set the tone for the rest of the season.

Q. Where did you first play lacrosse?


A. I was in third grade. My high school coach, Jodi Dolan, was my first coach then. I loved it. By the time I was in 7th grade, I hoped lacrosse would be the sport I would play in college.

Q. What are your future plans?

A. I’ll be playing for the New England Command team in the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League, then take some time off and travel to California and the Caribbean. I’ll also spend two weeks with my family in Provincetown. I’m eventually hoping to get into the commercial real estate business in Boston.

Q. What was your role volunteering with the Wounded Warrior Project at BC in 2016?

A. I was paired up with a veteran. We worked out twice a week and I also participated in seminars. I’m still in touch with the veteran I worked with. It gave me a sense of gratitude and how lucky I was to meet someone with such great inner strength.

Q. Has your height and basketball background made you a better lacrosse player?

A. I can catch balls that others may not be able to reach. I’m a big target for my teammates and strong when I get the ball because of my frame. Basketball has a lot of similar concepts.

Q. How do you relax?

A. I love to cook and try new recipes for my friends and family. It’s a different way to express myself. My favorites are pasta and baclava and my mentors are my mom and grandmother, who are fantastic cooks.

Q. What was coach Walker-Weinstein’s influence?

A. She has completely transformed me and helped me grow into the person and leader I am today. She had torn her ACL as a player and helped me through the entire process. I would not have been able to come back as strong if not for her.

Marvin Pave can be reached at marvin.pave@rcn.com