As the North Carolina women's lacrosse team took the field Friday for its first home exhibition game of the fall, the Tar Heels lined up along the sideline prior to the opening faceoff against Winthrop.
Each player's number could be seen by those in attendance, such as Aly Messinger's No. 27 and Maggie Bill's No. 22. Those numbers are well-known by those who followed the team in the spring.
But Friday presented the opportunity for fans to get acquainted with the eight freshmen that stood on Finley Fields and the eight new numbers they donned as they saw their first action in front of a home crowd in a UNC uniform. According to unofficial stats, the Tar Heels routed the Eagles 29-6.
Each freshman is bringing new talent to the team, but it is clear there are specific players to keep an eye out for in the upcoming 2015 season.
Marie McCool, a midfielder from New Jersey, is entering the program as the nation's No. 2 recruit by Inside Lacrosse. Coach Jenny Levy said McCool comes from a high school that prepared her for the college level.
“I’m definitely still getting used to things and working with new people,” McCool said. “I’m having a great time, it’s really fun.”
The pressure of being a highly touted recruit and having to perform well in order to meet high expectations can lead to disappointment.
But McCool said she is ready to meet those expectations — and possibly exceed them.
“To me, rankings don’t mean anything, I need to prove myself,” McCool said. “It definitely puts a lot of pressure on me and it makes me want to work harder and harder every day.”