Devils are known to play tricks. The same could have been said for junior attacker Sammy Jo Tracy on Friday.
The No. 2 North Carolina women’s lacrosse team was already up 8-5 over No. 3 Duke in the second half when Tracy planted her feet, with her back facing the goal. She turned to her right and scooped the ball to the top right corner of the net, just out of reach of the goalkeeper’s stick.
After the goal, Tracy celebrated by letting out a scream and slamming her stick to the ground. The Duke goalkeeper could only stare in frustration — there was nothing she could do.
The trick play was Tracy’s third goal of the night and helped the Tar Heels (13-2, 6-1 ACC) grab a 12-6 victory over the Blue Devils (13-2, 5-2 ACC) in their regular-season finale. With the win, UNC clinched its first ACC regular-season title since 2012 and will be the No. 1 seed in the ACC Tournament — which begins on Thursday.
“It’s called the ‘Twizzler,'” said junior attacker Aly Messinger, referring to Tracy’s shot. “She is an unbelievable stickhandler. She does that all the time. It’s clicking for her, and it’s just awesome to watch.”
Tracy, who missed all of the 2014 season with a foot injury, is now second on the team in goals with 29.
Messinger said Tracy would definitely participate in a trick-shot competition between colleges if it existed. She added that not only does Tracy love to do the ‘Twizzler’ move, but she also does a move called ‘Around the World.’
“Yes, I do practice everything,” said Tracy with a laugh. “I practice that a lot just in case I have to and the opportunity was a tight situation.”
Coach Jenny Levy lauded Tracy’s ability and her passion for lacrosse. She acknowledged that the junior was out for a year and a half following the injury but also noted that she has slowly been getting stronger throughout the season.
As for her goal against Duke, Tracy has never failed to impress Levy.
“It was the right time and place to take that shot in the upper shelf,” Levy said. “She practices those, so she’s allowed to take them. We don’t put any restrictions on our kids. We want them to be really creative offensively.”
Despite her trick shots, Tracy kept it simple when referring to what assisted her offensively — staying composed, poised and sharing the ball. She led the team with four draw controls against Duke, which helped UNC maintain possession throughout the game.
The Tar Heels ended the regular season on a five-game winning streak. And going into the postseason, Tracy said UNC is peaking at the right time.
“We have momentum, and we’re just going to stick to it,” Tracy said.
“All we’re going to do is go up from here.”
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