The North Carolina women’s lacrosse team defeated the New York Athletic Club, 18-8, in the Tar Heels’ first scrimmage of the 2017 season.
The New York Athletic Club started off fine, scoring a goal and tying the game at 1-1 early in the first half. But slowly, North Carolina’s fitness and skill started to shine through.
The Tar Heels dominated on the draw control and converted those possessions into easy goals. Even in the Tar Heels’ first action of the season, UNC’s passing and unselfishness on the offensive end was overwhelming for the New York Athletic Club.
North Carolina jumped out to a 9-1 lead and cruised through most of the afternoon. The big lead allowed UNC to show off and develop their depth, which will be needed throughout the long season.
At the half, UNC was up 13-3. Keep in mind that last season, North Carolina’s season-high for goals scored was 20 against San Diego State and Albany. It was a balanced scoring effort, too — at the half, eight different Tar Heels had scored.
The Tar Heels kept it up in the second half, cruising to the big victory.
Who stood out?
On July 16, 2015, the NCAA announced that women’s lacrosse would soon have a visible 90 second shot clock. North Carolina and the New York Athletic Club played Saturday for the first time with the clocks blinking behind each net at Fetzer Field. UNC played with the shot clocks in the fall, so they’ve pretty much adjusted to them by now.
They also didn’t have much of an impact in this game because UNC was so dominant it didn’t take them very long to score. But their presence will help the pace of play in close games to ensure that teams don’t run a modified four-corners offense and just hold the ball.
When was it decided?
This one might have been over before it started. The New York Athletic Club is not a college but a collection of former D-1 players who play for the team on the side. They weren’t able to keep up with UNC’s athletes or make enough plays on defense to stem the Tar Heels’ tide of goals.
Also, the New York Athletic Club had only about five subs to UNC’s army of a bench, all tightly wrapped up in sweats to counter the cold.
The New York Athletic Club did cut the UNC lead to 16-7 with under 10 minutes left in the second half, which cut the deficit to under 10 and stopped the running clock. But North Carolina came back and promptly scored, bumping the margin back up to 10 and restarting the running clock for the rest of the half.
Why does it matter?
Saturday’s scrimmage was the first time North Carolina took the field since a series of informal scrimmages in the fall and, more broadly, since winning the National Championship in May. The game was an opportunity to knock off some rust and incorporate some of the first-years into the fold.
North Carolina plays James Madison on Feb. 4, but the season ratchets up quickly when Florida hosts the Tar Heels in Gainesville, Fla. on Feb. 11. Last season, the Gators defeated the Tar Heels in a 16-15 thriller in Chapel Hill. UNC enters the season as contenders, again, for the national title, but it will face the challenge of getting every opponent’s best shot. These warm-up games are important to be ready for those challenges.
Where do they play next next?
North Carolina plays James Madison on Saturday in Chapel Hill in the Tar Heels’ first game of the regular season.