It’s been more than eight months since Sammy Jo Tracy scored the most electrifying goal in North Carolina women’s lacrosse history.
And ever since the ball flew off her stick and nestled into the back of the net last May, securing the program’s first ever national championship, the anticipation has been building to see what UNC will have in store for an encore.
While it was just two exhibition games that took place on practice fields on Duke’s campus, the No. 1 Tar Heels appear to have reloaded for another run at the national title.
UNC beat Delaware 14-7 before defeating James Madison University 13-7, both unofficially, in back-to-back matches in the South of the Border preseason tournament Sunday afternoon.
Despite her team’s impressive performance, coach Jenny Levy recognizes that her team has yet to even play a regular season game, and said she is focused on blending together an exciting group of newcomers with veterans who know what it’s like to reach the pinnacle of their sport.
“It’s a completely new team,” Levy said. “This team has a totally different feel. We have a lot of work to do, and we are not even close to being where we need to be. Every year is a new year with incoming freshman and outgoing seniors, and honestly there are not really many similarities between this year’s team to last year’s team.”
One of the biggest differences between the two teams is an incoming class of freshmen that is looking to make a big impact and help offset the loss of last season’s leading scorer Kara Cannizzaro. And Levy said that while the freshman class is proud of the veteran’s accomplishments last season, the new Tar Heels are looking to write their own legacy.
“The freshman class this year, who’s been very highly touted, when we recruited them we hadn’t won the national championship yet,” Levy said. “And like all of our classes, they came in wanting to win one, so I think they were a little disappointed that we did it last year without them.”
UNC won’t have to try to win it without them this season as members of the class of 2017 scored 10 of UNC’s 27 goals on the afternoon.
Junior captain Margaret Corzel said that the freshmen have already added a new dimension to the team.
“We have a lot of really young players that have stepped up. That’s something that’s been different than in the past, is we have a lot of younger players playing big roles.”
But Corzel said that regardless of what happened last season, she and the rest of the team are just ready to start playing some games that count in the win-loss column, starting Saturday against Florida.
“We’re always excited to start our season, whether we’re coming off a national championship or not. We’re just ready to stop scrimmaging and just play.”
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