After defeating Virginia Tech 14-6 in Blacksburg, Va., the No. 2 North Carolina women’s lacrosse team travelled to South Bend, Ind. to face off against No. 13 Notre Dame. The Tar Heels came away with a 16-9 win to extend their winning streak to eight games.
Senior midfielder Sammy Jo Tracy got things going for the Tar Heels early by scoring the team’s first goal before the first minute concluded. Fighting Irish seniors Courtney Fortunato and Casey Pearsall each scored a goal to put Notre Dame up 2-1 after five minutes. The Tar Heels racked up three goals in four minutes to take a 4-2 advantage, but the Fighting Irish managed to hang with them, as the score was 5-5 with nine minutes remaining in the first half.
However, the Tar Heels began to find momentum in the half’s closing minutes. Senior attacker Molly Hendrick scored a goal with 7:19 remaining in the first half to give the Tar Heels a 6-5 lead. Three more goals by junior midfielder Marie McCool, senior midfielder Carly Reed and Jo Tracy allowed the Tar Heels to take a comfortable 9-6 lead at the half.
That dominance continued into the second half, as the Tar Heels found the back of the net seven more times on the offensive end while holding Notre Dame to three goals to walk away with the win.
Who stood out?
Hendrick led the way for the Tar Heels, scoring a team-high four goals, three of which came in the first half, and extending her goal count to 39 on the season. Tracy recorded three goals for the Tar Heels while McCool and junior midfielder Ela Hazar recorded two goals each. Reed had a great day coming off the bench for the Tar Heels, as she scored three goals, which brought her season total up to 21.
When was it decided?
The Fighting Irish tried to find and answer to the Tar Heels momentum, but they were unable to do so. The Tar Heels outscored Notre Dame 7-3 in the second half, with five different Tar Heels scoring points. Another four-goal run by the Tar Heels cemented the victory for North Carolina, and one last goal by first-year Marisa DiVietro gave the Tar Heels a 16-9 victory.
Why does it matter?
The victory over the Fighting Irish was the eighth consecutive victory for the Tar Heels, and improved their overall record to 11-1. However, the Tar Heels will likely retain their No. 2 ranking in the NCAA, as the top-ranked Terrapins won both of their matchups against Florida and Michigan during the previous week. However, the Tar Heels have plenty of momentum on their side as they enter their final three regular season games.
Where do they play next?
The Tar Heels will travel to Louisville, Kentucky, in their last regular-season road game to take on Louisville at 12 p.m. The Cardinals are coming off a 13-12 road win against Virginia Tech.
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