Just like the phrase says — three was the magic number for the No. 5 North Carolina women's lacrosse team.
For the third year in a row, the Tar Heels secured an ACC title, taking down No. 2 Boston College in a 14-11 win on Sunday in Durham. Led by the performances of first-year attacker Jamie Ortega and redshirt first-year goalkeeper Taylor Moreno, North Carolina fought hard to win it all after making it through some of the best teams in the country.
“It’s a really tough tournament to play,” UNC head coach Jenny Levy said. “The ACC is a lot of strong coaching and a lot of great players. So you got to stay disciplined and focused to take care of business. It’s an accumulation of a lot of hard work from the players and the coaches.”
Coming into the game, the Eagles hadn't lost a game all season. When the two teams faced each other earlier this season, it was Boston College (19-1) that took control in a 17-11 win.
“This game is skill, passion, athleticism and collective play,” Levy said. “There’s no one on their team that is not affective in the job that they’re asked to do, so we knew that coming in.”
But since then, the Tar Heels (15-3) hadn't lost a game either. When the game began, the team had plenty of motivation to make it happen this time around.
Boston College began the contest by establishing the tempo and scoring the first two goals of the game. Then, the momentum shifted toward North Carolina — as the team scored five unanswered goals the next five minutes. When senior Maggie Bill tallied a goal for a 3-2 lead with 19:01 left in the first half, it marked when UNC took the lead for good.
Ortega was the force that powered the offense. She scored five of her six goals in the first half.
“Jamie Ortega is a special player,” senior midfielder Marie McCool said. “She’s only a freshman and the confidence that she plays with — you don’t see it often with freshmen.”