The No. 8 North Carolina women’s lacrosse team narrowly defeated No. 1 Maryland, 16-15, in overtime on Saturday afternoon in Kenan Stadium.
The Tar Heels (3-1) started off hot in the beginning, quickly rattling off three goals – two from first-year Ally Mastroianni and one more from first-year Jamie Ortega. Maryland could only respond with one goal, but everything went in the Terrapins' favor after that.
Maryland poured in six straight goals after that, moving ahead 7-3. In the first period alone, Carolina had 17 fouls to a mere six by Maryland (2-1).
This resulted in seven position shots for the Terrapins, converting who converted five of them. For the entire game, UNC had a total of 28 fouls, which led to 11 free-position shots and nine goals. Maryland held a 9-8 advantage at halftime.
In the second period, it was neck and neck throughout with Maryland always holding a slight edge. A UNC victory seemed improbable, but goals by Ortega and Ela Hazar in the closing minutes, along with a precise strike by Marie McCool in overtime, sealed it up in an electrifying fashion.
This victory gave McCool her first regular season victory against Maryland during her four years as a Tar Heel.
Who stood out?
The duo of Ortega and McCool is definitely one to keep an eye on. They combined for eight goals and three assists.
They knew where each other were on the field at all times and assisted a couple times to one another. The good chemistry was apparent between these teammates, who seemed natural working together.
When was it decided?
The game wasn’t decided until 2:27 left in overtime – the exact second that Marie McCool’s
game-winning shot hit the back of the net and silenced the Maryland team and fans.
On the contrary, the ripple of the net sent every UNC player storming to the middle of the field, arms in the air and yelling in celebration with the sea of Carolina blue crowd in the stands.
Why does it matter?
First and foremost, North Carolina beat the No. 1 team in the country. Maryland was on a 25-game winning streak and 24-game road winning streak before Saturday's loss.
The Tar Heels were down by three in the closing minutes, forced overtime and were resilient enough to keep fighting and close out the game on a 4-1 run.
When do they play next?
North Carolina takes on Florida on Saturday at 1:15 p.m. in Kenan Stadium.
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