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Ortega and Hoeg propel offense in UNC women's lacrosse's win over Davidson

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UNC women's junior midfielder Scottie Rose Growney (15), chases her Davidson opponent at Dorrance Field on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020. UNC were leading 15-1 by halftime and defeated Davidson with a final score of 22-5.

The names Jamie Ortega and Katie Hoeg will be heard announced throughout the UNC Soccer & Lacrosse Stadium a lot this season. 

The attacking duo is the core of the offense for the No. 1 North Carolina women's lacrosse team, and showcased their skills Sunday in the Tar Heels' dominant 22-5 victory over Davidson.

Ortega and Hoeg combined for 16 of UNC's 38 points on Sunday, easing back into the dominant roles they played last season. Both Tar Heels had breakout seasons last year, combining for 216 of the team's 490 points, and became the first and second Tar Heels to break 100 points in a single season.

The sheer dominance of this duo would be intimidating to any goalkeeper. 

"We'll play defense against them in practice, and let me tell you, they manage to find seams that we don't really see that often," UNC starting goalie Taylor Moreno said. "So, they really challenge us a defensive unit, but they also challenge each other."

Hoeg is known for controlling the ball, while Ortega has a knack for getting open, exploiting seams and finding the back of the net, over and over and over again. 

"We just have great chemistry on the field," Ortega said. "Just seeing her on the field and knowing when to cut and I just know when she's going to cut, we just read each other really well."

Both Hoeg and Ortega also earned UNC single-season records last year, with Hoeg racking up 73 assists and Ortega recording 81 goals.

"Last season was a breakout year for both of them," head coach Jenny Levy said after the game. "... I don't think either would have done it without the other, so they're just continuing on the success they had last year."

While Levy appreciates the success of the Hoeg-Ortega duo up front, she also emphasized the importance of orchestrating a balanced offense with all seven attacking players involved — especially as the team looks ahead to tougher competition, like a match-up with Maryland on Saturday. 

"The important part is the rest of the offense has to do a good job around them," Levy said. "You just can't rely on the two of those guys. We're working on developing seven threats on our offense, where everyone's dangerous."

The No. 4 ranked Terrapins will bring a significant challenge to the Tar Heels, who have won their previous three games this season by a combined 46 goals. The players greet the challenge with anticipation, in part because of the rivalry that has developed between the programs — both of the last two games were decided in overtime by one goal.

"That's one of our biggest games, our biggest game yet to come, and it's really exciting," Ortega said. "I think all of us have been waiting just for Terp week, and I think we are all just ready to play."

In that top-5 matchup, North Carolina will look to the leadership of Hoeg and Ortega to lead the attack.

"Overall, Jamie and Katie have been such inspiring players for our team," Moreno said. "I really think they've been able to carry us through a lot of games."

@MaryMacPorter1

@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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