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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC women's lacrosse topples Virginia, advances to Final Four

Katie Hoeg Syracuse
Women's lacrosse junior Katie Hoeg runs past multiple defenders during a game against Syracuse on April 13, 2019. UNC beat Syracuse 11-5.

The No. 2 North Carolina women’s lacrosse team (17-3, 5-2 ACC) defeated No. 6 Virginia (13-7, 3-4 ACC) on Saturday, 14-7, and advanced to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament for the eighth time in the past 11 years. 

What happened?

Virginia's Nora Bowen began the day with the first two goals of the contest, and the Cavaliers took an early lead, 2-0.  

North Carolina bounced back and got on the board when midfielder Scottie Rose Growney scored off a pass from Katie Hoeg. Virginia quickly recaptured their two goal lead when Lillie Kloak scored. The Cavaliers now led North Carolina, 3-1.  

On the Tar Heels’ first free position of the game, Kara Klages scored.  With that goal, North Carolina cut the Virginia lead to one for the second time.  A couple minutes later, North Carolina was awarded its second free position of the game, and they capitalized on the opportunity. Midfielder Olivia Ferrucci received a pass from Hoeg, and shot the ball into the goal from the right side past the goalkeeper to tie the game, 3-3. 

North Carolina took its first lead of the game with less than 10 minutes left in the half.  With a man-down on the field due to a yellow card, UNC’s Gianna Bowe scored and gave her team the lead, 4-3.  To close out the first half, both Jamie Ortega and Elizabeth Hillman scored for the Tar Heels. 

In the first half, six different Tar Heels scored, and the leam led 6-3. In addition, North Carolina finished the half on a 5-0 scoring run, and kept Virginia scoreless for over 19 minutes.

North Carolina kept rolling in the second half. After the Tar Heels won the opening draw, Bowe was able to score her second goal of the game, and increase the North Carolina lead to 7-3.  UNC’s Growney and Ortega joined in and scored their second goals of the game. The Tar Heels led the Cavaliers, 9-3. 

Three more goals pushed the UNC lead to 12-3, and the Tar Heel run to 11-0. Though the Cavaliers would score four goals in the second half, it proved to be not enough, as North Carolina cruised to the 14-7 win and the Final Four berth.

Who stood out?

Three different Tar Heels scored three goals apiece – Bowe, Growney and Ortega. Ortega scored three goals in this contest, and had two assists.  In addition, Growney has scored seven goals in the past two games, four against Florida and three against Virginia.  

Hoeg also stood out for North Carolina, recording four assists in the contest. and joining Ortega in reaching 100 total points this season.

When was it decided?

After North Carolina secured a 4-3 lead, the Tar Heels never looked back. In the last 19 minutes of the first half, Virginia was unable to score another goal while UNC went on a 5-0 scoring run to end the half.  North Carolina continued that scoring run in the second half and increased it to an 11-0 run. Once North Carolina secured the lead in the first half, the team never let up and secured the victory. 

Why does it matter?

These two teams met once before this season; in that match up, North Carolina scored two goals in the final seven minutes of play to edge the Cavaliers, 13-12. 

With the win, North Carolina advanced to the Final Four. This is the Tar Heels’ eigth trip to the NCAA Final Four  in 11 years.  In addition, UNC has won 24 of its last 26 home NCAA tournament games, and improved its all-time NCAA tournament record to 34-18.  

The Tar Heels are now just two wins away from clinching the program's third national title, with the most recent coming in 2016. 

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will face Boston College in the NCAA semifinals on Friday, May 24. 

@TorreNetkovick 

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@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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The Daily Tar Heel Victory Paper for February 5, 2024