The 2021 season for the North Carolina women’s lacrosse team was filled with highs, including its No. 1 ranking and a 27-game winning streak, as the Tar Heels headed into a bout against No. 4 Boston College in the NCAA semifinals.
Leading attacker Jamie Ortega, record-breaking redshirt senior Katie Hoeg and breakout first-year attacker Caitlyn Wurzburger impressed with their prowess on the field. An immovable lineup characterized the defense, pioneered by players like fifth-year Emma Trenchard. With a packed roster and an undefeated record, the Tar Heels seemed primed to win the national championship.
And, yet, the Tar Heels lost 11-10 to the Eagles, halting their record-breaking winning streak and eliminating them from title contention.
Despite the shocking loss, head coach Jenny Levy and her team are ready for a new year, and this time, they’re looking to go all the way.
“I think the biggest thing with this group is that they’re willing to make the hard adjustments,” Levy said. “I’ve been very encouraged by our ability to learn the lessons that maybe we didn’t last year: staying hungry, humble and continuing to work hard.”
The Tar Heels — currently ranked No. 2 in the country — already look promising, leading the nation with nine preseason All-Americans, five of which were first-team honorees.
Trenchard — recently honored with the Richard A. Baddour Carolina Leader of Distinction award alongside Hoeg — sees a newfound sense of communication and camaraderie in this year’s team, and she's hoping it will translate into better play on the field.
“We’re all very clear on what we want, so practices have been super awesome,” Trenchard said. “We want to make sure that when we step out on the field for the first time in 2022, it’s very clear to everyone what we want this team to be.”
UNC’s season starts off with some tough competitors, including No. 4 Northwestern, No. 10 Florida and No. 12 James Madison in the first few weeks of play.