The physicality proved too much for the No. 2 North Carolina women’s lacrosse team.
In a tightly contested game that saw 10 yellow cards, one given to the North Carolina bench, the Tar Heels could not keep pace with the No. 7 Florida Gators, losing 16-15 at Fetzer Field Saturday.
The Tar Heels (3-1) quickly jumped out to a 5-1 lead behind three goals by sophomore Marie McCool — who finished with a career high six goals — but the Gators (3-0) responded, cutting the lead to two. The Tar Heels regained a four-goal advantage at 8-4. But the Tar Heels could not sustain their lead.
Florida had a spurt of their own, scoring four goals in just over three minutes near the end of the first half to tie the score at 8 at halftime.
The Gators did not slow down after halftime. Just over 30 seconds into the second half, Florida took its first lead of the game with a goal by first-year Sydney Pirreca, who finished with five goals.
North Carolina recovered and the two teams swapped momentum throughout the second half.
With 22:11 left to play, Florida strung together four consecutive goals and took a 14-11 lead. The Gators pushed their three-goal lead at 16-13 with 3:55 left. That’s when the Tar Heels made their push.
First, first-year Olivia Ferrucci scored her second goal of the contest at 1:23. McCool quickly followed with another goal with 54 seconds remaining.
But it was not enough. Florida won the ensuing draw control and ran out the clock to hold on to the win.
“We want this game to be officiated much safer and I think in the early parts of games, it’s on our officials on the field to make sure that they let the players know what will be allowed during this game and what won’t because that didn’t happen today and it became a foul-fest and it became dangerous for the players and I have a huge issue with what went down today.” — Coach Jenny Levy on the officials' tolerance of physical play.
After Florida scored four consecutive goals late in the first half, North Carolina replaced starting goalkeeper junior Caylee Waters with senior goalkeeper Megan Ward. Ward did little to stop Florida’s offense, matching Waters by giving up eight more goals during the rest of the game.
Three numbers that matter
67: The teams combined for 67 fouls in the game. The Tar Heels committed 28 and the Gators committed 39.
5: Florida saved five more shots than North Carolina. The Tar Heels had six for the game, while the Gators had 11.
57: The Gators converted on 57 percent of their attempted shots. The Tar Heels managed 43 percent for the game.
The Tar Heels will host No. 1 Maryland at 1 p.m on Saturday. . The game will be the third of a four game home stand for the Tar Heels.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.