Current Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2014 12:00:29 -0400
For the No. 3 North Carolina women’s lacrosse team, a trip to the final four is no longer just a dream — it’s an expectation.
After beating Virginia on Saturday at Fetzer Field in the first round of the NCAA tournament, the Tar Heels (14-5) are just one win away from their third consecutive final four appearance.
“We kind of have set the bar for the future of UNC women’s lacrosse,” senior Taylor Chumney said. “It has now become not just a hope to get to the final four, but a goal each year that is expected… because we know that we can do it.”
UNC will host No. 6 Loyola (Md.) on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Fetzer Field in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Because the Tar Heels generally play top-ranked non-conference opponents during the regular season, the squad is used to being familiar with its tournament opponents.
North Carolina hasn’t played Loyola (17-2) since 2008, when UNC beat the Greyhounds 13-9.
The team might not know exactly what to expect, but North Carolina is ready to roll with the punches.
“We’re all really excited to play someone new on our schedule that we haven’t played this year,” Chumney said. “I don’t think that we know a lot about them as players, but our coaches will prepare us well.”
Junior Becky Lynch said her squad isn’t dwelling on the lack of familiarity with their next opponent. Instead, she said the Tar Heels are focusing on developing their own game.
But after North Carolina’s offensive performance against Virginia, it seems UNC doesn’t have any weak links.
Eight different Tar Heels scored in their 15-7 win against the Cavaliers, and sophomore Kara Cannizzaro led North Carolina with four goals. Senior Corey Donohoe leads UNC in scoring with 48 goals, but against UVa. the attacker had just one.
Lynch said the offensive depth will likely give North Carolina an advantage against Loyola on Saturday — and if the Tar Heels can take home a victory against the Greyhounds, that dynamic offense could continue to aid UNC in its quest for a national championship.
“If you just have one or two people that are scoring on attack, it can be easy to shut us down and try and shut off all options,” Lynch said.
“But it’s so awesome how even if you’re shutting off one or two people, that everyone on attack can score and everyone can deliver when they’re asked to.”
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