Redemption isn’t only important in basketball.
The North Carolina women’s lacrosse team is heading into the 2018 season following a shocking loss to unseeded Navy in last year’s NCAA quarterfinals. Redemption is exactly what the program is hoping for as it prepares to face No. 15 James Madison this Saturday.
The Tar Heels are coming off a strong 2017 season that ended in disappointment. They finished 17-3 overall and earned the ACC Tournament title. However, the team ultimately fell to Navy at home, 16-14, in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament as the No. 2 overall seed. This season, the program will be without last year's key seniors — Molly Hendrick, Sydney Holman, Carly Reed and Sammy Jo Tracy — who combined for 175 goals, as well as star goalie Caylee Waters.
Heading into the 2018 season, UNC is ranked No. 1 in the ACC preseason coaches’ poll and No. 3 in the nation in the overall coaches poll. The Tar Heels are hoping to bring back the 2016 national championship feeling.
Seniors Marie McCool, Ela Hazar and Maggie Bill are returning as key assets to the team. All three were given spots on Inside Lacrosse’s preseason All-America teams.
McCool, a team captain, was one of two college students on the 2017 U.S. Lacrosse World Cup team that won gold in England. She was also a Tewaaraton finalist last year, named an IWLCA first-team all American, the ACC Scholar-Athlete of the year and the ACC Midfielder of the Year. McCool had an impressive 50 goals and 19 assists last season, including six goals against JMU in the season opener, a performance she would like to repeat this weekend.