The No. 5 North Carolina women’s lacrosse team made it out alive in a 13-12 win over No. 17 Virginia Tech on Wednesday, with sophomore Olivia Ferrucci scoring both an equalizer and a go-ahead goal in the final two minutes of regulation to win the game.
The Tar Heels started off strong with three goals within the first six minutes of the game from sophomore attacker Katie Hoeg (assisted by first-year attacker Jamie Ortega), senior midfielder Marie McCool and senior attacker Ela Hazar (assisted by McCool).
After the three-goal run from the Tar Heels, Virginia Tech answered with a goal from Mary Claire Byrne off of a foul by McCool. After this score, two quick fouls from the Hokies led to first-year attacker Taylor McDaniels capitalizing on the second, scoring off a free position shot to make the game 4-1.
This streak of quick goals was followed by some silence from both teams, before the Tar Heels struck again with a goal from Ortega, assisted by Hazar. The assist was Hazar’s 100th of her career at UNC — making her the first player to reach the mark in program history.
This was followed by a UNC goal from sophomore midfielder Marisa DiVietro, assisted by Hoeg. Virginia Tech responded with its own stretch of three goals, all unassisted, from first-year midfielder Paige Petty, senior attacker Emma Harden and senior attacker Tristan McGinley, to make the score 6-4 UNC at the half.
Virginia Tech started off the second half with an unassisted goal from senior midfielder Marissa Davey. The Tar Heels answered with a free position goal from Hoeg and another goal nine seconds later from Ortega, assisted by McCool.
This was followed by another UNC goal from junior midfielder Kara Klages, assisted by Hoeg, before two consecutive goals from Virginia Tech’s McGinley, making the score 9-7 UNC with 19 minutes left in the game. UNC came back with two straight goals, one from McCool off of a free position and another from Hazar (assisted by Hoeg).
Virginia Tech followed with five unanswered goals to make the score 12-11 with four minutes left in the game and put the Hokies ahead for the first time in the game.
After nearly 16 scoreless minutes, the Tar Heels, led by Ferruci, answered with an equalizer. Thirty-one seconds later, she scored again to win the game and was assisted by Hoeg.
Who stood out?
Hoeg was the biggest offensive producer for the Tar Heels, finishing the game with two goals on five shots and four assists.
But it was Ferrucci who made the difference for UNC when it counted. The sophomore scored the final two goals of the game — the first to tie the Hokies, and the second to put the Tar Heels up with 1:26 left in the game. They were just her third and fourth goals of the season.
McGinley was the offensive spark for the Hokies, racking up four goals on seven shots. These four goals and all 12 from the Hokies, were unassisted.
When was it decided?
Although the Tar Heels led for almost all 60 minutes, the game was decided in the last two minutes of regulation. It was Ferrucci’s second goal that put the Tar Heels up for good and allowed them to run the clock out for the last possession of the game.
Why does it matter?
Before this game, the Tar Heels were 1-1 in conference play, while Virginia Tech was 2-0. This win effectively moved UNC up to third in the ACC behind only No. 2 Boston College (3-0) and No. 10 Virginia (3-1).
Also, this makes the Tar Heels’ fourth ranked win, giving the team confidence as they prepare to face another ACC opponent in Notre Dame (2-3 ACC).
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will take on The Fighting Irish on Saturday, March 31, in Kenan Stadium.
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