The road started in Millstone Township, diverted to Los Angeles and finally culminated in Chapel Hill.
But to get here, the sophomore midfielder had to start early — her father made sure she did.
Moore’s father, Scott, was captain of the lacrosse team at Rutgers, so she grew up learning the intricacies of the game. With his years of experience as a player, coaching and genes, his daughter showed early potential to be an elite lacrosse player.
“We didn’t even have enough kids on the seventh and eighth grade team, so when I was a third-grader me and a couple of my friends were playing with eighth-graders,” Moore said.
Those experiences as a kid helped the New Jersey native make the most of her natural talent.
“Part of me credits part of the opportunities I’ve had in lacrosse to getting an early start, playing better competition right off the bat and just kind of getting thrown right in there,” Moore said. “I learned to be fearless and I guess that’s how I learned to love the game.”
That fearlessness and love of lacrosse led Moore to leave Millstone Township — a town of fewer than 9,000 people —and head to Southern California, in the heart of downtown Los Angeles.
Staying close to home wasn’t a concern for Moore, but she would never discount the value of her family — it’s what inspires her on and off the field and, though she didn’t know it at the time, it laid the groundwork for her career path as well.
“In high school, my grandpa had a really severe stroke, and I got to see how he interacted with the nurses compared to his doctors and physical therapists,” Moore said. “He really got to know the nurses on a personal level, and I appreciated the way they made him feel comfortable.
“He’s the most stubborn man in the world so the way he was able to react so fluently to them, I just decided then that that was definitely what I wanted to do.”
So after a year at USC — a place she thrived at, leading her team with 35 goals as a freshman and said she loved— Moore sat down with her parents. She needed to weigh her options to develop as both a lacrosse player and a nurse.
Ultimately, Moore chose UNC.
“She’s just smart,” said Coach Jenny Levy at the start of the season. “Last year for USC, she obviously had a really big role on their team as a freshman. I know she is always alert and aware and very confident about what is going on on the field.”
With the backing of all her coaches at both schools, Moore felt comfortable making the switch.
“It was a really difficult decision, but I had the support of my family, and I had the support of the coaches at USC, as well,” Moore said. “Everything kind of turned for the best, and I couldn’t be any more thankful to be here.”
So far, Moore’s goal-scoring prowess carried over when she switched coasts. In 12 games this season, the former Trojan has 13 goals and four assists. And with sophomore Molly Hendrick, who was leading the team in goals before her season-ending ACL tear on April 4, out for the rest of the season, Moore should see even more playing time.
“I trust her to be on the field and be in the moment,” Levy said. “She’s very engaged, she’s a team player and she fits in very well with this group.”
That fit extends even away from Fetzer Field. Moore and her teammates have built a family among themselves. On a Saturday in the offseason, Moore says she’ll be with her teammates, tanning on the roof of a Chapel Hill house or going to the pool and playing beach volleyball.
“That’s by choice,” said Moore of spending time with her teammates. “They’re a bunch of really great and unique girls, and I think that’s what makes us so good on the field and off the field. We’re so close and have that chemistry.”
That chemistry has led the No. 2 Tar Heels to a 12-2, 5-1 ACC record heading into Friday’s regular season finale against No. 3 Duke.
“I think our players are the best in the country, so getting to play another team, whatever the span of practice is, I just can’t wait for it,” she said.
“Regardless if it’s Duke or not.”
Staff writer Ben Salkeld contributed to reporting