Current Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2014 01:55:27 -0400
After a three-week hiatus from competition, the No. 5 North Carolina women’s lacrosse team picked up its sticks and began the march for the NCAA championship crown.
The charge began Saturday afternoon at Fetzer Field with a 14-7 defeat of Navy. The game was a rematch of a 2010 NCAA first round game that UNC won 18-5.
Unlike the previous meeting, the Midshipmen kept the game competitive in the beginning, taking a 3-2 lead early in the first half.
“A team is a lot different two years later,” senior attack Becky Lynch said. “We never really get frazzled with what happens in the first. I mean we want to come out really strong, but if you psych yourself out once they get ahead by a goal or something, then you’ve lost your mentality right there.”
UNC quickly shut the door on Navy’s momentum, scoring four unanswered goals in the first half.
Lynch led the charge from the draw. She finished the day with four goals and two assists.
“I thought we took care of the details very well today,” coach Jenny Levy said. “It was Becky (Lynch) on the draw working with the rest of the team to gain an advantage there, which we did.”
In the ACC championship, the Tar Heels lost potential scoring opportunities by allowing Maryland to control the draw.
But UNC learned from its mistakes and dominated the draw 17-6 against a Navy team notorious for its draw control. On the season, Navy holds a 312-187 advantage in draw controls.
“We knew going in that (Loren Generi) was very good at the draw,” Lynch said. “I think for the draw, the most important thing is hustling and just knowing people’s tendencies. We really prepared for her, we watched a lot of film on her “
The Tar Heels used this dominance to dictate the offensive tempo of the game. UNC outshot the Midshipmen 34-21. UNC may have won by a wide margin, but the score could have been much higher if not for Navy goalie Michelle Verbeeck’s 12 saves.
“They were definitely very quick on their lateral movements,” Verbeeck said. “There were a few ankle breakers in there.”
Though UNC spread out the scoring among six players, Navy’s attack was concentrated to two key players, junior Jasmine DePompeo and sophomore Aimee Gennaro. DePompeo kept the Midshipmen close early, scoring three first-half goals. She finished with four goals and one assist.
“They have two girls who scored all their points, DePompeo and Gennaro, I think they could play for anybody in country,” Levy said. “They’re very, very good.”
Levy attributes DePompeo’s success in part to Navy assistant coach and UNC women’s lacrosse alumna, Corey Donohoe. Levy said that Donohoe’s familiarity with being faceguarded helped her work with DePompeo on fighting through the tight defense.
With the win, UNC moves on to face the winner of the Syracuse-Dartmouth game in the quarterfinals.
“We’ve had a really good year,” Levy said. “It doesn’t matter to us who we play or where we play. Wherever our next stop is in this tournament, we’re really excited about it.”