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The Daily Tar Heel

Defensive unit bands together on Senior Day for women's lacrosse

On Senior Day on Saturday, they all shared the back line for one more regular season victory on Fetzer Field — this time a 15-8 win over a No. 6 Syracuse team that had beaten them in both of their previous meetings during their careers.

The four helped hold the Orange — tied for 15th nationally in scoring offense — to just eight goals in a dominant display; denying scoring chances, creating turnovers and initiating counter-attacks.

“We’ve got a great defense,” Coach Jenny Levy said. “Down the stretch in the second half, Courtney Waite was phenomenal. I thought they played well together. To be really, really good, it’s all about the little details and layering those up, and these guys have been doing just that.”

Waite was instrumental in starting an important counter-attack in the final four minutes, after Syracuse had shown signs of a potential comeback with three unanswered goals in six minutes. Waite won a ground ball and sprinted across three quarters of the field to create a third goal for junior Sammy Jo Tracy and seal the victory.

“(The caused turnovers and counter-attacks) were definitely one of our biggest pushes, so we’re very thankful that we have such a strong defense,” Tracy said. “We definitely feed off of them.”

Scott said she believes the high level of shared experience among the defenders has been a key to their stifling play from the back, which has put UNC tied for No. 16 in the country in scoring defense.

“There’s been six of us that have been with each other for years now,” Scott said. “So we have a lot of chemistry down there. And we all play the same way. We have the same sense of fire and passion and the same energy.

“We’re always causing a lot of turnovers. We’re really aggressive, and we like to do that.”

The defense’s efforts to lock down the Orange on Saturday were aided by equally strong goalkeeping performances from sophomore Caylee Waters and junior Megan Ward. The two combined for nine total saves, including four on free position shots. Waters allowed only three goals in her first-half stint, making three back-to-back saves during one four-minute possession.

Losing four senior defenders will undoubtedly affect the Tar Heels next year, but Levy said this unit’s defensive prowess has been the result of hard work and preparation — something of which the team is never in short supply.

“(Our senior defenders) were all works in progress that ended up on the field,” she said. “Sarah Scott didn’t start until her junior year. Courtney Waite was in and out starting her sophomore year. Obviously, (Corzel) has been in our program a long time — she’s been a four-year starter.”

Levy added that this group will still be missed for more than just their abilities.

“They’re funny,” Levy said. “They keep it light. And they’re just really good at what they do.”

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