"We were just a bunch of scrubs," said McCann, now a senior forward.
No one would call them "scrubs" now.
McCann was named the ACC Player of the Year and has a shot at national honors. Back Jana Toepel has earned All-America honors for two consecutive years and looks to make it three at the end of this reason.
The three others - forward Holly Huff, midfielder Kate Sidebottom and back Erin Cox - have carved out a niche for themselves in the Tar Heel starting lineup.
When the players began their playing careers - UNC coach Karen Shelton red-shirted the lot of them in 1996 - they were members of the 1997 Tar Heel national title team.
Now, those five seniors are looking to win another championship ring.
UNC left town Wednesday to travel to Old Dominion, the site of the NCAA final four. After breezing through the first two rounds, the Tar Heels will face Maryland on Friday at 6:30 p.m.
"I thought it was a very good class," Shelton said. "But at the time, I would not have dreamed that they would have developed into five incredible student-athletes and leaders like they have."
McCann leads the Tar Heels with 24 goals and has edged her way onto the UNC all-time lists for career goals scored (tied for sixth) and points (seventh).