The Daily Tar Heel

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Tuesday September 21st

No. 1 UNC women's lacrosse wins record 21st straight game in win over No. 8 UVA

UNC senior defender Emma Trenchard (23) prepares to shoot the ball at the game against Virginia on Sunday Apr. 18, 2021 at the Dorrance Field. UNC won 15-4.
Buy Photos UNC senior defender Emma Trenchard (23) prepares to shoot the ball at the game against Virginia on Sunday Apr. 18, 2021 at the Dorrance Field. UNC won 15-4.

No. 1 team in the nation, ACC regular season champions and now record-holders for most consecutive wins in school history. 

The list of accolades goes on for this North Carolina women’s lacrosse team 14 games into the season — and it isn’t over yet.

In Sunday’s 15-4 win over No. 8 Virginia, the Tar Heels won their 21st consecutive game, spanning back from last season’s pre-pandemic 7-0 start to this season’s 14-game undefeated streak. With the win, UNC broke the 20-game win streak set in combination by the 2016 and 2017 teams. 

“All great teams start with great defenses," head coach Jenny Levy said. "When you can play really good defense and play as a unit and have great goalkeeping, I think that anchors the team. It’s easier to disrupt other people’s offenses than to create your own offense.”

On Sunday, the Tar Heels' defense gave the Cavaliers' offense fits, as it took UVA just over 27 minutes to score its first goal. It was too little, too late for Virginia, because in the time it took for the Cavaliers' offense to get started, UNC got out to a big lead, scoring 11 goals before its opponents even got on the board.

Coming off of Friday’s win against Virginia, Levy said defense was one of the main things the team worked on in preparation for Sunday’s game.

“We spent a good amount of time on film on Saturday just talking about some of the mental errors and execution errors that we wanted to clean up,” Levy said. “Our defense did a great job, (senior goalkeeper Taylor Moreno) played great today and we really just locked them down.”

The UNC defense is headed by Moreno and senior defender Emma Trenchard, both of whom were first team Inside Lacrosse midseason All-Americans. These two key players on the UNC team are a reason why, in the first half, Virginia was outshot 21-4 and went down 12-1 at the end of the period.

“The communication we have with one another on and off of the field is a huge component for us,” Moreno said. “Understanding going into games like what our game plan should be and who teams' big threats are and handling them accordingly.”

Of course, you can’t win games purely from defense. You still have to put balls in the back of the net if you want to come out on top. 

On Sunday, first-year attacker Caitlyn Wurzburger led the UNC offense. Wurzburger topped her point total from Friday’s game and set a new career best with six points on Sunday, including a team-high four assists.

“The communication between our middies, our attack to our defense and goalies was amazing this whole weekend,” Wurzburger said. “I think it’s obvious we have talent, but you can’t use talent unless you communicate and work together.”

Wurzburger said she knew coming into the game that if the Tar Heels kept playing the way they’ve played all year, losing was never a thought in their minds.

“This team is really special this year, and I think all the chips are falling into place,” Wurzburger said. “Every game we’re learning something new to give us that confidence in games, so I think we just have to keep it going and stay humble and hungry every game.”

Wurzburger came to UNC as the No. 1 overall recruit in the class of 2020. If the past two games are any sort of indicator, it seems the UNC attack will be just fine once the likes of junior Tayler Warehime and seniors Jamie Ortega, Katie Hoeg and Scottie Rose Growney depart Chapel Hill.

For now, though, just relax and keep watching the Tar Heels, because with the way they’ve been playing, losing seems improbable — especially when not even the likes of top-10 Syracuse, Virginia and Duke can compete.

Now, the question is not when, but how a team could stay on the field with North Carolina. One more regular season test against Duke lies ahead, then the postseason. 

It seems like there's history to be made with every game.


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