For Katie Hoeg and Jamie Ortega, it was a game day like any other.
“I think I just approach every game the same way no matter who we play,” Hoeg said. “Just another opportunity to get better and to play with my teammates.”
Led by the two attackers, the No. 3 North Carolina women’s lacrosse team (8-1, 1-0 ACC) defeated non-conference opponent Campbell (3-5) on Tuesday, 16-5, at the UNC Soccer & Lacrosse Stadium.
Kicking off the scoring for the Tar Heels, Ortega picked up a ground ball dropped by a Campbell defender and charged the net, capitalizing on the fast break with a goal in the fourth minute.
“I felt like it set a good tempo,” Ortega said. “Because, we really wanted to work on fast-break goals and trying to score pretty fast.”
Less than a minute later, Hoeg assisted sophomore attacker Taylor McDaniels from behind the net to give the Tar Heels a 2-0 lead. Ortega quickly followed with back-to-back goals, one assisted by Hoeg and the other off a free position shot, giving her a hat trick in the first six minutes of the game.
It was already 4-0 before Campbell scored its first goal, one of two in the first half. By the time the Camels scored again, UNC was already ahead by double digits.
Ortega contributed four goals and two assists against Campbell, helping the Tar Heels build a lead early, then created opportunities in the second half. This quick, dynamic play is not unusual for her. She consistently leads North Carolina in goals each game with 36 goals in total this season.
“She's a pretty consistent person as far as her personality goes, and how she approaches day in and day out whether its practice or a game,” head coach Jenny Levy said. “I’ve never seen her be a hothead. I’ve never seen her get flustered. She just works and tries to get better every day.”
While Ortega leads in scoring, Hoeg leads in assists. Hoeg has contributed 26 assists this season for the Tar Heels, including four against Campbell.
“I love assisting because it’s kind of like a puzzle,” Hoeg said. “Like figuring out who’s open, and I always just love when my teammates get happy after scoring and stuff. I love looking for the holes and kind of solving the defenses.”
Hoeg considers giving assists as an opportunity to be selfless, something that proves valuable to her teammates.
“Katie is a very unselfish player,” Levy said. “I think sometimes we’d like her to be a little more selfish, but she’s patient and the team knows and trusts her, that she’s looking for the best opportunity. She’s just a key kid for us on a day-in, day-out basis with her work ethic and her passion for the game.”
Hoeg not only contributed in assists against Campbell, but she scored three goals of her own,tying her season high in the category.
“I mean, she always just comes out and plays as tough as possible and is always such a great teammate,” Ortega said. “I just think that she always has grit to her and always wants to do better.”
Consistency is the key to success for the Tar Heels, and in preparation for No. 1 Boston College on Saturday, that is the trick up North Carolina’s sleeve.
“We’ll prepare like we always prepare and show up to play at the most competitive game that we can,” Levy said. “We enjoy playing top-ranked opponents and seeing how we match up.”
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