The teams combined for 41 turnovers, but North Carolina still established an offensive rhythm. The Tar Heels collected more ground balls (26 to 18); secured more draw controls (16 to 8); and outshot the Cardinals (38 to 20 in total shots; 26 to 12 in shots on goal). UNC controlled the pace of the game from the start.
Ortega and Hoeg’s performances were a big reason for this offensive supremacy, primarily from quick ball movement and efficiency around the goal.
“They’ve got great chemistry,” Levy said of her two talented underclassmen. “Both are high IQ players as well as great finishers. Jamie and Katie take a lot of pressure off of Marie (McCool) and Maggie (Bill). They have really increased their level of play since the beginning of the season, and we need that to continue.”
Since arriving to UNC as the top first-year attacker in the nation, Ortega has established an almost immediate impact on the field. She has found a groove within the offense this season, earning National Player of the Week honors for her efforts in UNC’s close wins over ranked ACC opponents Virginia Tech and Notre Dame.
Time after time, she continues to live up to high expectations.
“It's definitely hard, but I like the challenge,” Ortega said of high expectations. “I mean it's not easy, but I think this team has given me so many opportunities.”
One of the players that has helped Ortega adapt to the college game has been Hoeg, whose five goals and seven points against the Cardinals set new career highs in both categories.
Hoeg and Ortega practiced together over the summer and have been enjoyed seeing each other's success so far this season.
“Jamie is just a one of a kind player honestly,” Hoeg said. “She’s absolutely killing it. She’s fearless out there.”
Both natives of Long Island, N.Y., Ortega and Hoeg have known each other since high school. This familiarity with one another has culminated into great success — on and off the field.
“We just work so well together,” Ortega said. “We use each other quite well, and it’s very good for us as a team.”
With only three games left before the ACC Tournament, Levy views team chemistry as a major advantage for the Tar Heels as postseason play draws near.
“The better the chemistry they have, the better we will be,” Levy said. “To see that continue to grow will be really exciting for us.”
@DTHSports | firstname.lastname@example.org