The No. 3 North Carolina women’s lacrosse team (4-1) beat No. 5 Northwestern (3-2), 21-11, on Saturday, handling a fellow top-five team in the Tar Heels' first game in the new UNC Lacrosse & Soccer Stadium.
UNC starting scoring early with a free position goal from sophomore Taylor McDaniels in the fourth minute. First-year Elizabeth Hillman scored another goal for the Tar Heels off an assist from sophomore Jamie Ortega, before Northwestern countered early to bring the score to 2-1.
Senior Gianna Bowe assisted Ortega for North Carolina’s third goal, one that would kick off a 6-0 run for the Tar Heels. Sophomore Taylor McDaniels scored with 20:41 left in the first period off an assist by junior Olivia Ferrucci. Ortega scored her second goal of the game off a free position shot. A minute later, Ferrucci picked up a ground ball and scored UNC’s sixth goal. McDaniels and Tayler Warehime scored two more goals for the Tar Heels before Northwestern ended the run and scored, at which point the Wildcats trailed, 8-2.
The Northwestern momentum would be short lived, as UNC then ripped off six more goals before halftime to Northwestern's one. Senior Kara Klages kicked off the run with her first goal of the game, assisted by McDaniels. Ferrucci scored North Carolina’s 12th goal, before Ortega scored a man-up goal after a Northwestern yellow card. UNC ended the first half with a dominant 14-3 lead.
In the second period, Ferrucci scored an early goal in the first minute. North Carolina first-year Brooklyn Neumen fouled and received a yellow card. Northwestern missed the free position shot, but followed the play with two goals in a row. UNC and Northwestern went 1-1 with a free position goal on both sides. McDaniels and Ortega scored two goals for the Tar Heels, before Northwestern made a dent in North Carolina’s lead with three goals in a row to stop the running clock. Junior captain Katie Hoeg interrupted Northwestern’s run with a goal for North Carolina. After Northwestern scored two goals, Hoeg and Ortega closed the game with a goal each for the Tar Heels, bringing the final score to a decisive 21-11 in favor of UNC.
Who stood out?
Ortega scored seven goals and had three assists, tying her career-highs in each category. Her 10 points on the day matched the single-game school record, set by Kellie Thompson vs. UMBC in 2002. McDaniels also eclipsed her career-high in goals with five, and tacked on an assist for good measure.
When was it decided?
The game was decided when Ferrucci scored North Carolina’s 12th goal with 7:56 left in the first period. North Carolina had a 10-point lead and started the running clock, making it difficult for Northwestern to come back.
Why does it matter?
Despite coming off a tough loss against Maryland last weekend, the Tar Heels beat Northwestern for the sixth time in a row. Northwestern narrowly leads the all-time series with North Carolina, 11-10.
When do they play next?
North Carolina will again look to defend its new stadium against an elite opponent, facing off against No. 6 Virginia next Saturday in Chapel Hill.
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