For many reasons, the third-ranked North Carolina women’s lacrosse team will want to forget Saturday’s 17-10 home loss to No. 6 Florida.
The Tar Heels fell behind early on, never trailed by fewer than three goals from the 2:40 mark in the first half onward and allowed the Gators to win in Chapel Hill for the second time in as many trips dating back to 2016.
But if there was a silver lining for UNC, it was that Saturday marked redshirt senior Maggie Bill’s return to the field, a positive development during an otherwise sour day for the Tar Heels.
Bill, who was on pace to set career highs in goals and assists a season ago, suffered a left knee injury last April in a win against Louisville that kept her out of UNC’s final seven games in 2017.
But against the Gators, Bill picked up right where she left off, scoring on just her second shot of the season.
“It felt great to be back on the field” Bill said. “Obviously not the result that we wanted, but I’m excited to get back to work with everybody and continue to progress.”
Over the years, UNC senior Marie McCool has seen first-hand how talented Bill is. She thinks Bill’s return will help this year’s Tar Heels, who can benefit from her maturity and skill.
“Experience is something that she can provide,” said McCool, who scored four times against the Gators. “Also, she’s one of the most athletic people I’ve ever met. So, just having that extra athleticism out there definitely helps us. She has one of the best dodges I’ve ever seen in the game of women’s lacrosse.”
Before her season ended prematurely, Bill had 30 points (19 goals, 11 assists) in 12 games in 2017, impressing in her first season back on the field after redshirting in 2016. In doing so, she showed that the skills that led to her becoming a second-team All-America selection in 2015 hadn’t gone anywhere.