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Saturday May 8th

Preview: With stars old and new, UNC women's lacrosse set for dominant season

UNC junior midfielder Ally Mastroianni (12) blocks opponents after a pass during the game against Maryland at Dorrance Field on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. No 1. UNC won against No 4. Maryland 19-6.
Buy Photos UNC junior midfielder Ally Mastroianni (12) blocks opponents after a pass during the game against Maryland at Dorrance Field on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. No 1. UNC won against No 4. Maryland 19-6.

The 2021 UNC women’s lacrosse team has a chance to be one of the greatest college teams of all time this season as it adds two all-American transfers and a top recruiting class to an already-stacked squad. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged last spring, the UNC women’s lacrosse team was 7-0, boasting wins over No. 3 Maryland, No. 6 Northwestern and No. 7 Virginia. The Tar Heels finished the season as the undisputed top team in the IWCLA, collecting all 25 first-place votes. 

The 2020 team was led by now-senior attackers Katie Hoeg and Jamie Ortega, who were named the National Players of the Year by Inside Lacrosse. The Tar Heels' offense will become even more loaded with the addition of top first-year recruit Caitlyn Wurzburger, as well as two all-American graduate transfers in Kerrigan Miller and Katie Bourque.

Wurzburger finished her high school career with 503 goals and 524 assists, which combine for a record 1,027 points — the nation's most of all time. Inside Lacrosse called her the “most hyped recruit of all time.” She headlines one of the best recruiting classes in the nation, with four recruits making Inside Lacrosse's top 25. 

Bourque had a remarkable career at Dartmouth, earning a spot on the Inside Lacrosse All-America Third Team after scoring 21 goals in just five games in the shortened season, and Bourque did it playing all over the field for the Big Green.

“Katie competes and is willing to do the dirty work on the field, picking up ground balls, winning draw controls and making all-around hustle plays,” head coach Jenny Levy said in a press release.

Miller, a midfielder, spent four years at the University of Southern California, where she made an Inside Lacrosse All-America team each year, culminating with a spot on the second team in 2020. 

“Not only is Kerrigan a fierce competitor, but she is a team player who prioritizes building relationships and being a great teammate,” Levy said.

The Tar Heels also boast three other returning All-American seniors in defender Emma Trenchard, goalie Taylor Moreno and attacker Scottie Rose Growney. Trenchard was named the 2021 Preseason Defender of the Year by US Lacrosse Magazine, while Moreno and Growney both made the final watch list for the highly-coveted Tewaaraton Award. 

After returning an exceptional amount of talent from 2020 and adding two top transfers and a great recruiting class, expectations couldn’t be higher for the Tar Heels. They begin their season on Feb. 13 against James Madison, and will hope to end their season at the Division I Women's Lacrosse Championship at the end of May, surrounded by confetti.

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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