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Sunday November 27th

Analysis: How each of UNC's No. 1 teams got where they are

Sara Daavettila serves during her victory over E. Perez-Somarriba of Miami on March 6th, 2021.
Buy Photos Sara Daavettila serves during her victory over E. Perez-Somarriba of Miami on March 6th, 2021.

UNC now has five different teams ranked No. 1 in the country. Here's how those teams have maintained their momentum to reach that top spot.

Men’s lacrosse

The UNC men’s lacrosse team is the latest addition to North Carolina’s plethora of No.1 ranked teams after displacing its cross-town rivals the Duke Blue Devils.

Senior attackman Chris Gray leads the team with 30 goals and 23 assists on the season and was recently named to the 2021 Tewaaraton watch list.

First-year goalkeeper Collin Krieg had a season-high of 20 saves in a breakout performance against Virginia, earning him the titles of ACC Defensive Player of the Week and US Lacrosse Division I Men’s Player of the Week.

North Carolina is 8-0 overall and 1-0 in ACC play and will look to carry this momentum throughout the remainder of their season.

Women’s lacrosse

After topping the preseason polls, UNC women's lacrosse continues to live up to the high expectations set for them. 

The Tar Heels are 9-0 overall and 4-0 in ACC play. Senior attackers Katie Hoeg, Scottie Rose Growney and Jamie Ortega were named to the 2021 Tewaaraton watch list, along with senior defender Emma Trenchard and senior goalkeeper Taylor Moreno.

Ortega recently became North Carolina’s all-time leading scorer, while Hoeg has the most total points in program history. 

Moreno, a preseason all-ACC pick, was named both the National and Conference Defensive Player of the Week after making 10 saves in the team’s season opener against No. 6 Stony Brook.

The UNC women’s lacrosse team will hope to finish the regular season strong before hosting the ACC Tournament in Chapel Hill this spring. 

Men’s tennis

With an experienced lineup of upperclassmen, UNC men’s tennis has found great success this season. 

The Tar Heels are 12-0 overall on the season and 4-0 in conference play. In mid-February, they won the 2021 ITA Indoor National Championship, defeating Baylor in the final. 

UNC senior and team captain William Blumberg leads the team as the No. 2 men’s singles player in the nation. Sophomore Rinky Hijikata and junior Brian Cernoch are also key components of the Tar Heels’ success, consistently winning at both the No. 2 and No. 3 singles positions, respectively, and in doubles play.

North Carolina hopes to maintain its ranking and success as the team finishes conference play.

Women’s tennis

No one has come close to beating the UNC women’s tennis team this season.

The Tar Heels are undefeated on the season, with three players ranked among the top-25 individually. In addition to winning the ITA Indoor Championship in February, they have swept their opponents 7-0 in five of their last seven dual-matches.

Senior Sara Daavettila leads the team as the No. 4 player in the nation. She earned an ACC Player of the Week nod after upsetting Miami’s No. 2 Estela Perez-Somarriba on March 6.

First-year Fiona Crawley has had a strong rookie campaign as the No. 1 recruit of the class of 2020 and remains, like her team, undefeated on the season.

Field hockey

UNC women’s field hockey stands as one of the most accomplished programs in history.

Since the Tar Heels ended last season with their 23rd ACC Championship win over top-seeded Louisville, head coach Karen Shelton has been named the top female coach in ACC history after becoming the winningest collegiate field hockey coach in history.

Junior forward Erin Matson might just be the Michael Jordan of field hockey. In 2019, she received the Mary Garber for the ACC's top female athlete of the year. Her most recent accolade was being named one of the top ten female athletes in ACC history. 

Senior goalkeeper Amanda Hendry leads the ACC in saves percentage and average goals against, earning her the title of ACC Defensive Player of the Week after shutting out Louisville in the team’s spring opener.

The Tar Heels will be seeking their third-straight and ninth overall NCAA Championship at the end of this spring in Karen Shelton Stadium in Chapel Hill.

@dthsports |


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