The North Carolina women’s lacrosse team returned to the field this weekend for the first time since winning the national championship in Chester, Pennsylvania in May.
The team faced off against the national teams for the U.S. and Australia in two scrimmages at the U.S. Lacrosse complex in Sparks, Maryland.
On Saturday, the U.S. National Team defeated UNC, 20-7. And on Sunday, the Tar Heels beat the Australian National Team, 13-8.
Here are a few things to note from the scrimmages.
Three Tar Heels — Marie McCool, Caylee Waters and Maggie Bill — played for the U.S. National Team this weekend instead of the Tar Heels. When the U.S. defeated North Carolina on Saturday, all three of those players didn’t play.
But all three had good weekends wearing the red, white and blue. Waters played against the English National Team and had five saves in over 51 minutes of action while allowing 11 goals. McCool scored three times against the English, while Bill had a goal and an assist.
Bill returns to lacrosse
Bill is a member of both the women’s soccer team and the women’s lacrosse team at North Carolina. This week, she played in UNC women's soccer's 3-1 win over Miami on Thursday and then made the trip to Maryland to play for the U.S. lacrosse team.
That’s a tough transition to make, especially in the middle of soccer season. But Bill is a special athlete and one of the few who can pull it off.
Bill didn’t play last season for the Tar Heel lacrosse team, so Coach Jenny Levy will be excited to have her back in the spring.
First-years get first action
North Carolina signed an excellent recruiting class this season for women’s lacrosse, and many of those incoming first-years saw the field for the first time this weekend.
Charlotte Allard scored twice against Australia on Sunday and once against the U.S. on Saturday. The first-year attacker looked comfortable in North Carolina’s offense despite having only a few practices under her belt.
Redshirt first-year goalkeeper Elise Hennessey played every minute of both games. Last season, Levy liked using two goalies: Waters and Megan Ward. But Ward graduated and Waters suited up for the United States, so this weekend was an opportunity for Hennessey to prove she deserves some playing time this spring.
She played well, considering the circumstances. She allowed 20 goals against the United States, but that’s understandable considering the national team is essentially a college all-star team. Against Australia, Hennessey allowed eight goals and led the Tar Heels to victory. Overall, she recorded 11 saves on the weekend.
On Saturday against the United States, senior Carly Reed was the standout. She scored four goals, while no other Tar Heel had more than one.
Against Australia on Sunday, it was senior Molly Hendrick who led the way with three goals and an assist. Fellow senior Sammy Jo Tracy was dominant on the draw all weekend long.
Those three seniors, along with Waters in net and Maggie Auslander on defense, form the core of the 2017 Tar Heel women's lacrosse team. If North Carolina wants to get back to the Final Four and defend its national title, it will be those seniors who propel them there.
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