The No. 7 North Carolina women’s lacrosse team defeated Liberty in its first home game of the season on Sunday, 23-4.
The Tar Heels (2-1) took an early lead less than two minutes into the game after first-year attacker Jamie Ortega scored a goal. It was only the beginning of an impressive day for Ortega, who scored five goals on just seven shots against the Flames. North Carolina quickly added to its lead with three more unanswered goals, before allowing Liberty's first and only goal of the half.
After Liberty brought the game to 4-1, the Tar Heels went on a 17 goal scoring streak that stretched into both halves and pushed the lead to 21-1. Then, the Flames scored their last three goals of the game in the last seven minutes of the game, while UNC's Olivia Ferrucci added another one, too. First-year midfielder Ally Mastroianni scored the final goal of the game, bringing the final score to 23-4.
North Carolina as a whole outshot the Flames 38-8 over the course of the game and forced 13 turnovers. Taking away opportunities and creating more for its own players led to more goals, which was part of the reason the team dominated.
Who stood out?
The Tar Heels had many different players score, but the leading scorers were senior midfielder and captain Marie McCool with seven goals and Ortega with five. Ortega scored the first goal of the game and was consistently a driving force on the field and McCool tied her career high goals scored in a game. Ela Hazar and Katie Hoeg also stood out with three assists each.
On the defensive end, sophomore Elise Hennessey and redshirt first-year Taylor Moreno combined to give up just four goals and each had a pair of saves. Hennessey, who played the first half, allowed just one goal, while Moreno gave up three to close out the game.
When was it decided?
The Tar Heels came out strong from the beginning of the game. The team stretched its lead out to 10 with 11:11 left in the first half and 20 goal lead with 10 minutes left in the second half. It became clear during 17 straight goals that North Carolina was going to decide the game, but throughout the game, the team was too much to be caught.
Why does it matter?
North Carolina used the game to improve its skills and get back on track after a disappointing loss to James Madison in the season opener last week. The win over Liberty University was just one goal shy of tying a program record (24) number of goals scored in one game, which will give the Tar Heels some confidence in their next match against Maryland, the defending National Champions.
When do they play next?
UNC will take on No. 1 Maryland on Feb. 24 at 1 p.m in Chapel Hill.
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