To open its 2022 campaign, the No. 2 UNC women’s lacrosse team (1-0) took on No. 12 James Madison (0-1) at Sentara Park in Harrisonburg, Virginia, as North Carolina came away with a 15-8 win in its season debut.
After the Dukes netted an early goal in the first quarter, UNC’s junior midfielder Olivia Dirks, graduate midfielder Andie Aldave and sophomore attacker Caitlyn Wurzburger tossed in three unanswered gems.
At the beginning of the second, graduate midfielder Ally Mastroianni caught an assist from Wurzburger from just outside the crease and sent the ball straight to the back of the cage for UNC’s fourth goal. Two more made shots by fifth-year attacker Scottie Rose Growney and Wurzburger put the Tar Heels up 6-3 at the half.
UNC was dangerous in the attack during the third and fourth quarters, posting 11 shots in each. Senior attacker Tayler Warehime scored UNC’s first goal out of the half and less than a minute later, passed it to fifth-year attacker Jamie Ortega for Ortega’s first goal of the season. Mastroianni, Growney and sophomore attacker Alexa Gentile tallied two goals each while Wurzburger scored three. By the end of regulation, the Tar Heels had doubled the Dukes’ shot total, 36 to 18 respectively, and grabbed their first win of the season, 15-8.
Who stood out?
On the offensive end, Wurzburger lived up to her 2022 Third-Team Preseason All-America honor by surpassing her 2021 career-high of six points with three goals and four assists.
UNC’s leading scorer of the 2021 season and Inside Lacrosse’s No. 2 overall men's or women's player in the nation for the 2022 season, Ortega also put in work for the Tar Heels. She posted three ground balls, two caused turnovers, five shots on goal and a career-high-tying three assists for four points.
Graduate goalkeeper Taylor Moreno started her 55th consecutive game in the cage and tied the UNC career record of 49 wins in goal with Caylee Walters, who saw action during the 2014-2017 seasons. Moreno contributed to four saves, two caused turnovers and four ground balls.
When was it decided?
After the first half, the Tar Heels took off in the attacking third, going for two runs of three unanswered goals and continuously doubling the Dukes’ scoring total — 6-3 at the half, 10-5 at the end of the third and 12-6 and 14-7 in the fourth. Snuffing scoring opportunities on their defensive end, the Tar Heels presented an offensive powerhouse that trampled any JMU attempt to close its deficit in the second half of regulation.
Why does it matter?
This win notches North Carolina’s 28th win in its last 29 games. With ten Tar Heels adding to the scoring total, UNC’s offensive onslaught against the Dukes was the 37th time the team has reached double-figure goals in its past 38 contests. This strong season opener against a top-20 team puts the Tar Heels in a good position against their upcoming ranked rivals including No. 7 Florida and No. 4 Northwestern.
When do they play next?
UNC will face-off against Furman on Feb. 16 at 4 p.m. for its home opener on Dorrance Field.
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