North Carolina women's lacrosse (20-1, 9-0 ACC) lost in the NCAA semifinals against Boston College (17-3, 8-2 ACC), 11-10 on Friday to bring an end to the Tar Heels' undefeated season.
In the first half, Boston College scored first just a little over a minute into the game. UNC answered back with three goals of their own in the span of two and a half minutes, with senior attacker Jamie Ortega either scoring or assisting on all three. The teams then traded goals to put the score at 4-2.
The Eagles then went on a scoring streak of then own, scoring four goals in 10 minutes and putting the Tar Heels down two. Graduate midfielder Kerrigan Miller answered back for the Tar Heels, bringing the Boston College lead back down to one. The Eagles then pulled away again, scoring two more before the half to give the Tar Heels their first halftime deficit since their April 10 game against Notre Dame.
The two teams came out of the half with each team giving up a goal. Boston College then took control scoring two more before the halfway point in the second half, putting the Tar Heels down five. Freshman attacker Caitlyn Wurzburger brought that lead down to four after a goal of her own and then fed redshirt senior attacker Katie Hoeg to bring the Boston College lead down to three.
Hoeg, not wanting her career in Carolina blue to end just yet, willed herself to the goal and scored with five minutes to go. Boston College’s junior goalkeeper Rachel Hall came up big in the final five minutes, making two big saves to stop the Tar Heels from getting any closer.
After two yellow cards on the defensive end, UNC made a stop and with a second left, senior midfielder Ally Mastroianni scored to put the Tar Heels down one, but it was too little, too late. On the ensuing draw, the final buzzer sounded, and UNC’s perfect season was over.
Who stood out?
Hall was the difference maker in this semifinal matchup with her 11 saves. There were multiple chances for the Tar Heels in the crease, but Hall denied what would have been goals that would’ve likely turned the momentum in North Carolina’s favor.
In one notable example when the Tar Heels were up 3-1, Hoeg had a 1-on-1 opportunity against Hall. The Eagles goalkeeper saved what would ordinarily be a goal for the decorated UNC attacker, denying North Carolina the opportunity to run up the score.
When was it decided?
This game was decided when junior attacker Scottie Rose Growney’s shot was saved with 1:53 left in the game. This put the ball in Boston College’s possession, which with the shot clock, allowed the Eagles to run out nearly the rest of the time in the game.
Why does it matter?
This game ends the Tar Heels' perfect season, and the No. 1 team in women's lacrosse will return to Chapel Hill without a championship to show for it. In 2019, UNC lost to Boston College in similar fashion in the NCAA semifinals.
With the extra eligibility year, many of the starters from this year’s team will be able to return. However, for players like Hoeg and sixth-year defender Caroline Wakefield this was their last game in Carolina blue.