The No. 2 North Carolina women’s lacrosse team defeated No. 15 Notre Dame, 15-7, in a Saturday morning bout at Dorrance Stadium.
The first quarter saw lots of good shots, but even better saves from both goalkeepers. Over 10 minutes into the game, UNC’s Taylor Moreno and Notre Dame’s Bridget Deehan both had four saves with no goals allowed.
UNC’s fifth-year attacker Scottie Rose Growney was the one to break the standoff with a back-handed goal from point blank range. As time ran out in the first period, junior midfielder Olivia Dirks found sophomore Caitlyn Wurzburger for a fall-away shot that found the back of the net, giving UNC a 2-0 lead.
The defensive grudge match continued until Notre Dame’s Alexandra McHugh netted an unassisted goal late into the second quarter. UNC graduate captain Ally Mastroianni was right there with the answer though, winning the draw and immediately taking it to the goal, scoring unassisted.
From there, UNC’s offense, which had been relatively quiet for most of the game, caught fire. Quick goals from junior Nicole Humphrey and fifth-year Jamie Ortega followed Mastroianni’s score, and suddenly UNC was up 5-1 and solidly in control of the game. Notre Dame’s Jackie Wolak found the back of the net with 25 seconds to go in the half, and the Tar Heels went into the half leading, 5-2.
The second half opened with back-to-back goals from Ortega as the Tar Heels began to pull away. Successive goals from Sam Geiersbach, Growney, Aldave, Ortega again, then Geiersbach again piled onto the lead with no response from the Fighting Irish. The third quarter ended with UNC leading, 12-2.
Who stood out?
Taylor Moreno put on a goalkeeping exhibition, notching 16 saves while holding a Notre Dame team that averages nearly 15 goals per game to just seven.
Ortega, per usual, continued to show why she’s one of the best players in the country with her six-goal performance today, which was good for her eighth hat trick of the season and then some. Wurzburger’s feeding ability also stood out with four assists to add to her one goal.
When was it decided?
Going into the final period up ten goals, UNC had just about as insurmountable of a lead as a team can get. An early goal from Notre Dame’s Madison Ahern was a positive spark for the Irish, but it was quickly extinguished by Ortega netting her fifth and sixth goals of the game.
Two goals from the Fighting Irish followed, but they were too little, too late. Humphrey and Wolak traded goals towards the end of the quarter to bring the score to 15-7, UNC.
Why does it matter?
The Tar Heels kept their undefeated streak alive and remain atop the conference rankings with only three games left in the regular season. Balanced scoring and an impressive defensive effort once again proved to be a winning formula for head coach Jenny Levy’s squad.
UNC's hardest stretch lies ahead with tough ACC matchups against Syracuse, Virginia and Duke to close out the season. Two of those games, Syracuse and Virginia, will be away from home.
When do they play next?
Next Saturday, the Tar Heels will travel to Syracuse, New York to take on the No. 4 ranked Orange at 2 p.m.
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