The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday December 3rd

UNC sophomore plays strong offensive attack in victory over Notre Dame

Standing at only 5-foot-4, sophomore Aly Messinger would intimidate few people with a quick glance.

And with the spotlight shining on the top-ranked recruiting class for the North Carolina women’s lacrosse team, Messinger has lied in the shadows.

But in that shadow, the sophomore has provided a strong offensive attack, adding three goals to her season total in the Tar Heels’ 19-9 victory against Notre Dame.

Messinger has been a model of consistency for UNC this season. She now has 16 goals and five assists on the season — good for second and third-most on the team, respectively. Going into the game against the Fighting Irish, the sophomore ranked eighth in the nation in goals scored.

Despite her production this season, Messinger said she is comfortable with providing a low-key role for the team, adding that she appreciates the spark the freshmen provide.

“Our standards here aren’t based on what grade you’re in — it’s based on if you can play, and they’ve obviously shown that they can equally play as anyone else and we take pride in that,” Messinger said.

Messinger has been an offensive weapon for the Tar Heels, dating back to her freshman season. The sophomore scored three goals in the first half of the NCAA championship game against Maryland. She also was third on the team with 46 points and fourth in goals with 31.

Coach Jenny Levy said that despite her small stature, Messinger’s quickness adds value to the Tar Heel offensive attack.

“She’s a human highlight film,” Levy said. “She’s really hard to mark, even for our defenders. I don’t think her quickness is understood until you play against it.”

Freshmen Sydney Holman and Carly Reed agreed that Messinger’s production does not go unnoticed.

Reed said that Messinger not only serves as a threat offensively, but she also acts as a role model to the freshmen.

“Aly, as an attacker, is an amazing leader,” Reed said. “She helps and guides me as a freshman, and when she gets the ball on her left side, she is unstoppable.”

Holman said she and Messinger have solid chemistry, which leads to several back-door cuts during games.

“Aly and I have been working a lot together, and since the fall, we’ve been back behind the goal together,” Holman said. “We read each other’s minds. It’s nice back there to be able to back-door and her hit me, and sometimes I can do the same for her.”

Levy said that Messinger is humble, unselfish and hard-working in addition to being a great scorer. She added that she would like her to be more aggressive so her offensive game can reach a new level.

Messinger said she agrees with aggressiveness being key but prefers the motto: “Earn it.”

“I think everyone has to play with a chip on their shoulder,” Messinger said. “I think that comes with having confidence. And I think we try to, but not too much.”

“Instead, we want to earn more and more as we progress.”

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