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Saturday December 4th

UNC women's lacrosse beat Florida in season opener

Aly Messinger (27) muscles her way past a Florida defender on Saturday at Fetzer Field. The Tar Heels won 20-8.
Buy Photos Aly Messinger (27) muscles her way past a Florida defender on Saturday at Fetzer Field. The Tar Heels won 20-8.

This was a highly anticipated matchup in the world of women’s lacrosse.

No. 1 North Carolina, coming off the program’s first-ever national championship, facing off against No. 4 Florida, an explosive young team in only its fifth year as a program, in the season opener for both teams.

The Fetzer Field press box was jam-packed, and there was an undeniable buzz generating in the stands and on the field, everyone looking forward to a matchup that would surely go down to the wire.

Then, the game started.And after only 84 seconds ran off the clock, it was clear that this matchup was anything but even.

The Tar Heels took a 2-0 lead that they would never relinquish, going on to win the contest in a rout, 20-8.

Once North Carolina went up by 10 goals late in the second half, the referees no longer stopped the game clock to let the Gators get out of Chapel Hill as quickly as possible.

Coach Jenny Levy said she was excited to see how her team would respond once the Tar Heels finally reached the season opener, and needless to say, she was pleased with what she saw.

“I’m really happy with how we responded,” Levy said.“We played last weekend in a couple short scrimmages, but nothing’s like a game.

“And when we come into the game, it gives us more information about who we are, what we need to work on and what we potentially can do.”

Based on Saturday afternoon, Levy’s team seems to have a world of potential to go along with a team that knows how to win right now.

Whether it was freshman attacker Sydney Holman scoring five goals, or senior attacker Abbey Friend adding five of her own, it seemed like any and all Tar Heels, regardless of age, were putting the ball in the back of the net.

Junior attacker Taylor George, who added three goals, said it was exciting to watch the veterans and newcomers finally get a chance to work together on the field.

“We have such a dynamic group this year,” she said. “On any given day any person, no matter the grade, year, position, can come out and score and have a big day.

“That’s huge for us. We just have so many threats that if you shut down one of us, someone else is going to step up.”

After leading 6-2 at halftime, the Tar Heels really stepped on the gas following halftime.

North Carolina outscored the Gators 14-6 in the second half.

The final 30 minutes was highlighted by a game-sealing run in which UNC turned the score from 10-5 into 15-5 in the blink of an eye, or to be more exact, 2 minutes and 35 seconds of game time.

Despite the big win, Levy knows one game doesn’t define a season and emphasized her team’s need to get better.

“Its good to win, but we need to consistently improve,” she said. “It’s early, it’s a long season, and we have a lot to work on.”

sports@dailytarheel.com

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