It was a family affair at Dorrance Field on Friday night.
No. 1 North Carolina women’s lacrosse's redshirt senior attacker Katie Hoeg faced off against her sister, Mackenzie, a first-year on No. 7 Virginia, in UNC's 20-8 win to keep the Tar Heels undefeated.
The win was the team's 20th straight victory, matching the program’s all-time best.
“She’s my younger sister, so it was awesome to be on the same field as her. I never would’ve expected it to happen since I’m a fifth-year and she’s a freshman,“ Hoeg said. “It was a really special moment for us, it was so fun to just be running by her and just see her playing out there.”
Hoeg tallied eight points for the Tar Heels, with four goals and four assists — one point shy of matching her career-best for point total. She accomplished this by scoring all four of her goals less than 18 minutes into the game.
Hoeg then added two assists in succession just two minutes later, before adding a third with about a minute left in the first half. Within two minutes of the second half starting, she had already added a fourth assist, giving her eight points on the night.
“Seeing (Mackenzie) and seeing my family, it kind of reminded me of my roots,” Hoeg said. “Even though she was on the other team, it just kind of brought me back to a good place where I was younger, playing lacrosse and doing what I love.”
Friday's win against Virginia was North Carolina’s ninth double-digit win over an opponent this season, and its second double-digit win over a top-10 opponent. In addition, it was the third time this season the team has scored 20 goals or more.
With the exception of the Notre Dame game, North Carolina has been in the driver’s seat of every matchup, essentially from start to finish. And that's not because the Tar Heels have faced an easy schedule — this was their 11th win over a top-25 opponent and their fifth win over a top-10 team.
Head coach Jenny Levy attributed this dominance to the experience on the team.
“We’re anchored by a lot of great leadership in our fifth-year and our senior class,” Levy said. “Our defensive play has been really, really good all season from our goalkeeper all the way up, and then our offensive end obviously has a lot of chemistry and a lot of talent.”
First-year attacker Caitlyn Wurzburger is a part of that talented offensive end. She finished the game with a career-best five points, including four goals. She credited this to the chemistry of the team that Levy talked about.
“My teammates really helped me and gave me the confidence this week to really step up and create on the field,” Wurzburger said. “I think that really showed on the field today, that we just had great ball movement, just teamwork is the end result for that.”
Being a first-year playing alongside three of the nation’s best attackers in Hoeg, senior Jamie Ortega and junior Tayler Warehime, Wurzburger said she tries to soak up everything she can while they’re still in Chapel Hill.
“I ask them a million questions in practice and in games about the little things,” Wurzburger said. “They’re so mature and they’re so composed on the field that I’m starting to learn those little nuances of the game and see some things differently.”
This atmosphere that Wurzburger alluded to shows that, even if the players don’t share the same last name, being a part of the team means every day is a family affair.