The No. 1 ranked North Carolina women’s lacrosse team took on No. 17 James Madison University on Saturday in the first game of the regular season. The Tar Heels defeated the Dukes 15-7.
UNC took the lead right out of the gate with an early goal in the first period by junior midfielder Ally Mastroianni off the assist from US Lacrosse Magazine’s 2020 preseason national player of the year, junior attacker Jamie Ortega.
The Tar Heels kept the lead throughout the game in a strong victory. Midway through the first period, UNC scored four unanswered goals to close out the half, creating a more comfortable separation from the Dukes and pushing its lead to 7-2.
The Tar Heels continued to push right off the second period face-off, scoring two more unanswered goals. Both the scores were put away by junior midfielder Scottie Rose Growney and assisted by senior attacker Katie Hoeg.
Following these goals came the only short stint since the opening whistle where UNC started to feel some pressure. The Dukes went on a quick 4-1 run in a span of 11 minutes to close the Tar Heels’ lead to 10-6.
Carolina went on another offensive burst to counter this run, going on to score five more unanswered goals. The Dukes would only score one more goal to close out the game and it wasn’t nearly enough to mount a comeback.
Who stood out?
Three Tar Heels, Oretega, Growney and Tayler Warehime, finished with hat-trick performances, scoring three goals apiece. Ortega and Warehime also contributed multiple assists and were integral in UNC’s offensive production.
Hoeg played a role in eight of the Tar Heels’ 17 goals, scoring two on her own and assisting on a staggering six.
When was it decided?
The decisive moments in Carolina’s first game of the season came on the two scoring outbursts that allowed them to maintain their lead.
The four goal burst to end the first period gave the Tar Heels a strong lead going into halftime and the five goal burst at the end of the game stifled the Duke’s late push.
Why does it matter?
UNC has high expectations to perform as the preseason No. 1 team in the country. The Tar Heels set the tone for the season with a strong victory moving their record to 1-0.
When do they play next?
North Carolina takes the field again in High Point to take on the 1-0 High Point University this Friday.
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