But the Tar Heels continued to trust in their team approach. With 13:35 left in the game, sophomore attacker Taylor McDaniels found the back of the net on an assist from Ortega. Then, three and a half minutes later, it was senior midfielder Gianna Bowe who scored, assisted by junior attacker Katie Hoeg.
Less than a minute later, Ortega completed her hat trick, scoring on another assist from Hoeg. With the find, Hoeg passed Sydney Holman for third all-time in assists in Tar Heel history.
Ortega’s last goal brought UNC within three goals of Boston College and made the score 11-8 with 9:22 remaining. The Tar Heels had the momentum heading into the media timeout that followed. Head coach Jenny Levy emphasized how crucial it was that her team makes a play the next time it gained possession.
“We have to get the ball, and when we get the ball, we have to make a play off of it,” Ortega recalled her coach saying during the timeout. “We have to score off of it. And we just have to work together, because we weren’t really transitioning that well. And we have to help out the defenders more and give them better opportunities and chances.”
Even with a sense of confidence after the breakdown of the huddle, UNC couldn’t convert when it had the chance to build on its run. A foul on Boston College senior midfielder Hannah Hyatt gave UNC a free position shot, but Hoeg’s attempt went wide left with 5:29 to play.
The Eagles, on the other hand, wouldn’t miss on the opportunity to capitalize on the Tar Heels’ errors. A foul on junior midfielder Caroline Wakefield led to a man-up goal by Boston College with 4:03 left in the game.
Just like that, all the momentum the Tar Heels had built vanished.
“As a young group that is experiencing the journey of this year, we need to learn from that,” Levy said. “We need to learn how to anchor that moment, score a goal and go back to center draw.”
The Eagles continued to press, scoring two final goals in the last three minutes to put the nail in the coffin.
Last season, Boston College also handed UNC its first loss of ACC play. But the Tar Heels avenged the loss by defeating the Eagles in April to capture an ACC Championship.
Though Levy said there’s plenty her team can learn from watching the film of this year’s contest and thinking about the approach it has taken previously, there won’t be much looking back if UNC gets another chance at taking down the best team in the nation.
“If we get a chance to play them again, that will be that day and there's no story involved with it except it's another day to play them,” Levy said.
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