There are four words, scribbled in black permanent marker, on the white wristband that rests on UNC goalkeeper Taylor Moreno’s left arm.
"Win or go home."
On a night where the unbeaten North Carolina women’s lacrosse team squeaked past Stony Brook for an 8-5 victory, perhaps no Tar Heel played a more pivotal role under immense pressure than the graduate goalkeeper.
“For me, it’s just a matter of staying locked in, staying focused and not necessarily letting the excitement affect us,” Moreno said.
Trailing 3-4 at halftime, most of the team headed to the locker room, searching for an answer to Stony Brook’s seemingly impervious zone defense. But as usual, only Moreno stayed behind, to practice goalkeeping.
And why wouldn’t she? No amount of halftime adjustments from head coach Jenny Levy could make Moreno’s sole responsibility any different.
For around half an hour each game, the helmeted figure donning No. 30 on her jersey watches her teammates from afar as they try to score on the opposite end of the field. For the other half-hour, her task of protecting the cage is arguably the team’s least complicated — yet most daunting.
Daunting like when midfielder Ellie Masera, who led Stony Brook in scoring Thursday night, raced past several UNC defenders and lasered the ball into the bottom right corner of the cage for the first score of the game.
Daunting like the explosive sequence from midfielder Jaden Hampel, who pirouetted through the entire North Carolina defensive unit for an unassisted score, then soloed another goal minutes later to tie the game early in the second quarter.