Jamie Ortega led the North Carolina women's lacrosse team with six goals as the Tar Heels toppled the Cardinals, 17-6, on their home turf on Saturday. The win improved UNC’s record to 10-3 overall and 3-2 in conference play, while Louisville dropped to 4-10 overall and 0-5 in conference.
After dropping their second conference game in three matches, the Tar Heels traveled to Kentucky hungry for a win.
None had a bigger appetite than Ortega, who scored six goals and tallied nine points as the Tar Heels built a massive lead in the first half. UNC opened up with the match’s first six points, including three from Ortega, before Louisville found the back of the net.
Leading 6-1 with 13 minutes left, UNC went on a 7-0 run to close the first stanza.
By halftime, UNC had built an insurmountable 13-1 lead and fended off the Cardinals' second-half push.
After the break, Louisville outshot the Tar Heels 17-9 and outscored them 5-4, but ultimately UNC's first-half explosion proved too much to overcome.
Who stood out?
Ortega led the charge for the Tar Heels in one of her best games of the season.
The sophomore attacker was one off of her career-high in goals and points, set this season against Northwestern. The New York native also tacked on three assists for good measure. After scoring three of the first six goals for the Tar Heels, she capped the first half by scoring three of the last four.
Sophomore midfielder Ally Mastroianni also had a career day with four goals, her highest college total, and forced three turnovers.
When was it decided?
UNC was the favorite heading in, and proved that it was for good reason. The Cardinals were on life support down 13-1 at halftime, and could never make the game interesting despite scoring five second-half goals.
The plug was effectively pulled when UNC’s Amanda Fedor scored the team’s 17th goal, putting the Tar Heels up 12 with just over five minutes left.
Why does it matter?
Tied for fourth in the conference, UNC needs to win out their remaining ACC schedule to have a shot at winning the regular season title.
With games against second-place Syracuse and fifth-placed Duke coming up, the Tar Heels couldn't have afforded to drop a game against the conference’s worst team in Louisville.
Doing well in the ACC Tournament later this month would be huge for the program, and this tune-up against the Cardinals puts them in a better position to do so.
When do they play next?
After a three-game road trip, the Tar Heels will now return to Chapel Hill for a big matchup against Syracuse.
With ACC implications at stake, UNC will look to come up with the upset over the Orange on Saturday at noon.
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