Despite the tough weather conditions, the No. 1 UNC women's lacrosse team (12-0, 6-0 ACC) defeated the No. 4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-3, 3-3 ACC), 11-10, in a competitive match on Saturday afternoon, making for a 12-game winning streak this season.
“This was one of those games where we knew that we would be tested,” head coach Jenny Levy said. “I was more curious about how we would respond.”
North Carolina’s offense started the game off strong as junior attacker Tayler Warehime scored the team's first goal. She was followed by senior attacker Jamie Ortega who quickly put the score at 2-0, with the Tar Heels in the lead.
The Fighting Irish refused to back down, though, as Hannah Dorney scored the first goal for Notre Dame.
North Carolina exploded for the remainder of the half, with first-year attacker Caitlyn Wurzburger, graduate midfielder Kerrigan Miller and senior attacker Scottie Rose Growney scoringfour more goals for the team.
Notre Dame kept the pressure on the Tar Heels as the Irish tied the score 6-6 with a goal from Maddie Howe. With just one second remaining in the first half, Notre Dame’s Jackie Wolak scored, putting the Fighting Irish in the lead, 6-7.
Within the first two minutes of the second half, Ortega scored to tie the game at 7-7. This was just the beginning for Ortega, who did not let up for the remainder of the game. She went on to quickly score another point, putting the Tar Heels back on top with a one-point lead.
Miller kept up the momentum, scoring her second goal of the game and putting North Carolina at a 2-point lead with the score at 9-7.
The Fighting Irish quickly responded, as Howe scored the next two goals for Notre Dame, tying the score once again.
With the game at 9-9 and less than 15 minutes left on the scoreboard, Ortega scored her third goal of the half, which was quickly responded to by a goal from Notre Dame’s Madison Mote, and the teams were tied again.
The game was called in favor of the Tar Heels after Ortega scored her fifth overall goal of the game, making the score 11-10. In the last seven minutes, the Fighting Irish could not make a comeback.
“Notre Dame played really well and they really challenged us,” Ortega said. “It was fun to have that kind of competition, and I think as a team we really needed that.”
Who stood out?
Although the entire time played hard to contribute to this win, Ortega’s five goals, four of which occurred in the second half, helped lead the team to victory.
“We showed resilience and we got through it together,” Levy said
Senior goalkeeper Taylor Moreno also worked hard in the cage to ensure that the Fighting Irish could not continue to score and defeat the Tar Heels, registering six saves by game's end.
When was it decided?
With the score remaining close the entire match, the Tar Heels did not solidify the win until the last 1:30 of the game, when North Carolina went into man-down situation following a yellow card from Wurzburger. The Tar Heels were able to survive a series of free position attempts from the Irish and come out on top.
Why does it matter?
The last time the Tar Heels battled the Fighting Irish, they lost 9-7. By defeating Notre Dame, they continued their winning streak, defending their current place as number one in the country.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will compete against the University of Virginia on Friday, April 16 at 5 p.m. in Chapel Hill.
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