In No. 2 UNC’s 20-7 victory over San Diego State at Fetzer Field, McCool found her stroke and set a personal record in the process. The sophomore tallied five goals — a new career high.
“(Shooting) is something I’ve been struggling with the past couple of weeks,” McCool said. “And I’m kind of hard on myself with it. I was really focusing on getting it around the goalie and faking and shooting.”
Coach Jenny Levy asked the sophomore to shoot at least 10 times in this weekend’s games against High Point and the Aztecs.
McCool has been inching closer to that total — she shot three times versus James Madison on Feb. 6, five times versus High Point on Friday and eight times against San Diego State.
“We really wanted to increase the number of shots (McCool) was getting,” Levy said. “But we want them to happen organically, in the flow of the game.”
Before Sunday’s match, McCool hadn’t scored more than three goals in a game during her career. She scored four goals in the first half and added her fifth goal about 11 minutes into the second half. In the 2016 season, McCool has seven goals.
Four of her five scores against the Aztecs were unassisted. Junior attacker Molly Hendrick believes one of McCool’s biggest strengths is the ability to move in isolation.
“She’s always one of our good, top dodgers,” Hendrick said. “So when we just give her space and let her dodge, she can always do that.”
McCool hustled in transition by scooping four ground balls, tied for the second-most on UNC (3-0). The sophomore said she wants to be one of the hardest-working players on the field.
“I think my speed really helps me out with that and gives me the ability to work hard on the field,” McCool said. “And my teammates are what helped me. If they didn’t get through for me, I wouldn’t be able to beat my girls.”
Levy said McCool is hard on herself because she wants to achieve and play at the highest level.
She recently spoke with McCool and told the young player to clear her mind, “rip it up” and just have fun.
“I think (McCool) said in practice she’s been getting stuffed by the goalies, but our goalies are really good,” Levy said.
“And I thought today, the shots she got and the goals she scored were not necessarily because she was trying to be a ball hog, but that was the opportunity that was in front of her, and she took it and did a great job.”