And then there were four.
On Friday, the No. 1 seed North Carolina women’s lacrosse team will face ACC opponent and No. 4 seed Boston College in the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament at Johnny Unitas Stadium on the campus of Towson University.
This will be the second time the teams will play each other this season. The first time the teams met was on March 6 in Chapel Hill, where the Tar Heels came out on top, winning 21-9.
Facing teams that they've already played hasn't been a rarity for the Tar Heels this tournament. Their previous two games against James Madison and Stony Brook were also rematches of regular season bouts.
However, head coach Jenny Levy said both teams have changed a lot since their early March matchup, so that game isn't a true informant of the state of the teams going into the Friday matchup.
“You’re always going to make some adjustments when you look back and say, ‘What went well, what needs work?’ We’ll change some to try to do better from the last game,” Levy said.
One big factor in the rematch will be Boston College senior attacker Charlotte North.
In the first meeting between the Tar Heels and the Eagles, North was limited to only three goals. In her first three NCAA Tournament games, she’s scored 23, breaking the NCAA Tournament record for goals scored.
The Tar Heels, though, have a stellar defense with the likes of senior Emma Trenchard and senior goalkeeper Taylor Moreno, along with sixth-year defender Caroline Wakefield and graduate defender Catie Woodruff. Keeping North under control in the NCAA Tournament has been a challenge for teams, but this Tar Heel defense has the ability to be the one to stop her.
Levy said North is an unbelievable player who puts a lot of pressure on defenses and is a huge component of their draw. But, she said, it's not just the Charlotte North team — Boston College has a lot of weapons who play well together.
"Our defense has been very strong all year so we’re going to build upon some of the lessons we’ve learned throughout the season,” Levy said.
The Eagles aren’t the only ones with a dangerous attacker, though. North Carolina has two of their own in seniors Katie Hoeg and Jamie Ortega, who, when combined, can cause a lot of trouble for opposing defenses. On top of Hoeg and Ortega, the Tar Heels have other options who supply goals consistently in players like senior attacker Scottie Rose Growney and junior attacker Tayler Warehime.
Boston College head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein said the team has to be a really strong unit to stop what is probably the most dynamic offense of all time.
“We just have to work really hard and grind all week and find a way to be one, two percent better than we were the last time we played them and a little bit better than we were two days ago," Walker-Weinstein said. "It’s going to take all eight of our defenders to have a chance, because it’s a tall task.”
The game in Towson will be the Tar Heels' first tournament game away from Dorrance Field this season, but Levy isn’t concerned.
“We have fun going on the road, you get some new scenery," Levy said. "I’m tired of eating the same food around here in Chapel Hill, I’m ready to get up to Baltimore. We don’t care where we play really. We’ve traveled some this year and we’ve had success both at home and on the road.”
The matchup between the two ACC foes is shaping up to be a great one, and if it’s anything like their 2019 clash in the NCAA semifinals that went to two overtimes, you won’t want to miss out.