UNC women's lacrosse sweeps weekend foes Towson, Richmond

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Junior midfielder Brittney Coppa takes the ball up the field in front of Richmond players.

After the North Carolina women’s lacrosse team fell to Florida on opening day, its two games this weekend took on added meaning.

The fifth-ranked Tar Heels needed a weekend sweep to climb back above .500 on the young season — and they did just that.

The Tar Heels beat No. 17 Towson 9-6 on Friday and proceeded to take down unranked Richmond 14-7 on Sunday.

And while coach Jenny Levy said she’s pleased with the improvement of her team, she said her players need to continue to mesh in order to compete with the best in the country — including top-ranked Northwestern, which UNC faces on Friday.

“When your offense is relatively new,” Levy said, “there’s going to be some chemistry and timing issues until you figure out who’s job is going to be what. But we’re going to get better as the season goes along.”

After struggling to score for stretches in the Towson game, the Tar Heel offense started to hit its stride early against Richmond. UNC dominated play and jumped out to a 10-1 lead in the first half, punctuated by a diving Brittney Coppa goal seven seconds before halftime.

Junior Taylor George, who tallied three goals against the Spiders, could sense her team’s confidence rising along with the score.

“We haven’t quite been getting into a rhythm,” George said. “We either come out too slow or we come out too on fire, too intense.

“So today, we found a really happy medium, especially in the first half, with being poised, but at the same time being ready to attack.”

The Tar Heels had plenty of chances to attack the Spider goal as they dominated the turnover battle, forcing 14 Richmond turnovers while committing only six.

Those turnovers contributed to a wide disparity in shots — 39-9 in favor of the Tar Heels. Richmond was efficient, netting seven of its nine attempts, but the game was never close after the first 15 minutes.

Senior co-captain Emily Garrity provided four assists on Sunday as UNC effectively shared the ball on its way to a big lead. She said holding onto the ball and passing it around was a point of emphasis following Friday’s game.

“We just worked together today,” Garrity said. “Coming out from our game Friday night, there were a lot of things we wanted to work on, including possession. And with possession comes opportunities to feed your teammates.”

As always, this year’s Tar Heel squad hopes to compete for a national championship, but George knows her team still has a long road before that dream can become a reality.

“We’re not where we want to be yet, George said. “But we don’t want to peak until May, and I felt like we got better today, so I’m happy with that.”

Contact the desk editor at sports@dailytarheel.com.

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