North Carolina women’s lacrosse coach Jenny Levy describes her senior class and her team as “goal-oriented.”
Levy can easily list the names of all of her seniors and all the great things about them. There are seven seniors this year: Alyssa Andress, Kelly Devlin, Mallory Frysinger, Devin Markison, Aly Messinger, Sammy Jo Tracy and Megan Ward. And they are, as Levy says, “great leaders”, “driven individuals” and “a cohesive group.”
They are also a successful group. They won 18 games and a National Championship in their first year with the Tar Heels, 15 games in 2014 and 18 games in 2015. They will go to four straight NCAA Tournaments and have only lost four ACC regular season games in their careers.
You’d think with all those accomplishments, they would sit back on their laurels a little bit. But not this senior class.
Not this team.
This team still has goals — even after a 15-14 overtime win against Syracuse in the ACC Tournament final on Sunday — and is working as hard as ever to check them off.
They wanted revenge on the Orange for knocking them out of the last two ACC Tournaments. In 2014, Syracuse defeated North Carolina 9-7 in the quarterfinals. A year later, the Orange defeated the Tar Heels again, this time in the tournament final and in double overtime.
Losing another one to the Orange, as talented and as well-coached as they are, was a non-starter.
The Tar Heels were motivated “to take away what they took from us last year,” as sophomore Marie McCool said. Sunday’s game was an opportunity to make that goal a reality, and the Tar Heels capitalized.
They also wanted an ACC Championship, which hadn’t been done since 2002, Levy’s seventh year at the helm for the Tar Heels. She's in her 21st year now, and that’s far too long a gap for a program as strong as UNC's is.
“No one would ever know that we haven’t won it in that long,” McCool said.
And she’s right. The Tar Heels are one of the nation’s top programs and have been right in the discussion as the best lacrosse program in the ACC each of the past few years, but an ACC Championship trophy has eluded them.
With the win over Syracuse on Sunday, the Tar Heels earned revenge on and also got Levy her second ACC title.
It wasn’t as easy or pretty as any of the Tar Heels would have liked it, but it felt just as sweet holding up that trophy at the end of the day.
This senior class and this team is now one that went undefeated in ACC regular season play, won the ACC Tournament and now waits, hungry as ever, to accomplish that last goal.
“This was our first goal. We crossed it off the list. Obviously our next goal we need to take care of,” McCool said.
“This is a great accomplishment, but we are not finished. We are ready to get our second goal of the year, which is a National Championship.”
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.