With outstanding performances from its senior attackers, the No. 1 North Carolina women’s lacrosse team beat No. 11 Duke on Friday at Dorrance Field, 13-6, marking the 10th straight time the Tar Heels have come out on top over the Blue Devils.
The last time Duke beat UNC was nearly seven years ago on April 16, 2014, when Duke beat UNC 7-6 in overtime in Kenan Memorial Stadium.
The winning effort on Friday by UNC was led by the star senior attacking pair of Jamie Ortega and Katie Hoeg, who finished the game with five and seven points, respectively.
“They’re a.) very talented, b.) really connected together and they play the game in a very artistic way, but they keep it pretty simple,” head coach Jenny Levy said. “They’re great leaders.”
After nearly five minutes of both teams trading possessions, Ortega helped give UNC the first goal of the night as she had an assist to senior midfielder Ally Mastroianni. Less than two minutes later, Hoeg would score a goal off an assist from senior attacker Scottie Rose Growney.
Duke and UNC would then trade goals back and forth for the next 11 minutes. The most notable of these goals featured the tag-team pairing of Ortega and Hoeg, in which Hoeg pump-faked three times before firing a pass to a streaking Ortega, who dumped the ball in to put UNC up 4-2.
At the 11:44 mark of the first half, a turning point emerged in the game: Growney, who had earned her first yellow card less than three minutes into the game, picked up a second one after, on a behind-the-back shot, her stick collided with the defender, sending her off for the rest of the game.
The leadership characteristics of Ortega and Hoeg that Levy mentioned became evident after this moment. Even though the Tar Heels had lost one of their leading scorers, the duo helped UNC to step on the gas pedal and not let up for the rest of the game.
North Carolina proceeded to score nine straight goals, with Ortega tacking on three goals during this time to bring her goal total for the game to four. Her explosive night moved her into second on the all-time goal-scorers list at UNC with 195.
Hoeg added four more assists during this stretch for a total of five on the night. Hoeg attributed her tendency to find assists to a small detail of her game:
“I’ve gotten really used to moving with my head up,” she said. “That’s come with the chemistry with the other girls, I know when they’re going to cut, for Jamie, I know when she’s going to move, and I can read her body language.”
After the run of nine consecutive goals for UNC and being shut out for 39 minutes, Duke scored three goals within just around a minute to make it 13-6, which remained the difference until the horn sounded for the end of the game.
Despite the heavy defensive attention and pressure put on them, Ortega and Hoeg still find ways to put up numbers every game and help their team to a win.
“At this point, it doesn’t faze us anymore, we just have to work through it and know I have her out there and she keeps me going,” Ortega said.
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