No structure on North Carolina’s campus is larger than Kenan Stadium. Holding as many as 62,980 screaming fans on a sellout Saturday in the fall, nearly three Smith Centers' worth of fans can fit inside Kenan. And while the crowd was a mere drop in a bucket of maximum capacity Wednesday night, the stage was not lost on the North Carolina women’s lacrosse team. Yet on the biggest stage on campus, falling in overtime 7-6 to Duke.
This game marked the first time a women’s lacrosse game was played in Kenan Stadium.
Coach Jenny Levy said that playing in the stadium was a welcome step up from Fetzer Field.
“It was awesome. This place is great,” Levy said. “It’s a great venue, and I’m looking forward to hopefully one day Fetzer getting a great facelift so we can have a home venue for both our soccer and lacrosse programs who’ve won multiple championships.”
Even though the atmosphere favored the Tar Heels, it was Duke who made all the noise early in the first half, taking a 4-1 lead in the first 20 minutes of the game.
And as the lights came on in the biggest stage on campus, so did Abbey Friend, the senior attacker and UNC’s leading scorer. In the final 10 minutes of the first half, Friend would score two goals and lead a charge to tie the game before halftime.
Though each of the Tar Heels recognized the change in venue as a grand experience, none would claim that it had a hand in the team’s slow start. Friend said it had more to do with Duke’s style of play than the new turf beneath their feet.
“They were really holding possession, which always gets us a little bit anxious,” Friend said. “Because we really like to play lacrosse and get the ball and go.”
Levy had similar thoughts, voicing her displeasure with the style of play that Duke employed to halt the high-powered UNC offense.
Yet UNC had every option to leave Kenan with a victory. A tie game at halftime, became a two-goal UNC lead just seven minutes into the second half. But the lead would not hold, and with 26 seconds left in the second half of overtime Duke scored the game-winner, rewriting the ending that the Tar Heels had penned.
All the world is a stage, and Wednesday night UNC fell through the trap door.
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