On Saturday, one of the top rivalries in college women’s lacrosse came down to a first-year and a senior.
First-year attacker Jamie Ortega found senior midfielder Marie McCool, who found the goal to lead the No. 8 North Carolina women’s lacrosse team to a 16-15 overtime win over No. 1 Maryland.
Heading into overtime, Ortega had already scored four goals of her own. It was time for McCool to earn her fourth as well.
“Our offensive coordinator set up a play and we knew that they were always sliding to me very early, so I knew that Marie was going to be there,” Ortega said. “Her defender was looking right at me and as she drew, she walked into the eight and scored.”
It was the first time that UNC (3-1) has taken down Maryland since the 2016 NCAA Tournament championship game, where the Tar Heels earned a 13-7 win. The last five national championships for women's lacrosse have been won by either Maryland or UNC. This time, the win snapped a 56-game regular season winning streak for the Terrapins, which included a 13-10 victory over UNC last season.
“We love playing Maryland, and they like playing us,” head coach Jenny Levy said. “It’s always a competitive game.”
Ortega scored her first goal in the sixth minute of the game to put UNC ahead, 3-1. From there, Maryland went on a 6-0 run until an unassisted goal by McCool ended the streak. The next time that the Tar Heels would take the lead was in overtime.
With 52 seconds left to play in the second period, senior defender Naomi Lerner picked up a ground ball as Maryland committed a foul.
At the end of regulation, senior Ela Hazar scored off an assist by McCool to tie the game at 15, with just 22 seconds remaining, to send the game to overtime. It set up an Ortega and McCool finish.