BALTIMORE, Md. — With the sound of the final horn, almost every Tar Heel ran.
Almost every UNC player ambushed the far-side cage where graduate goalkeeper Taylor Moreno waited to celebrate North Carolina’s perfect season, capped off with a 12-11 win over No. 3 Boston College in the national championship game.
Almost everyone ran. Everyone except three figures.
Fifth-year Jamie Ortega and sophomore Caitlyn Wurzburger lagged behind. The pair — one a Tar Heel veteran and the other a symbol of the program’s future — helped clinch the title with a game-sealing clear.
As time expired and their teammates across the turf began to flood onto the field, Ortega draped her arm across the shoulder of the young attacker, and her emotions began to pour out.
“I started crying immediately,” Ortega said. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, we did this.”
As Wurzburger guided UNC’s all-time leading scorer towards the jumble of their teammates, one player strayed far behind the rest — Scottie Rose Growney.
The fifth-year attacker had struggled for the large majority of the afternoon. Forcing wayward shots near the eight-meter line and coming up empty-handed on a point-blank opportunity, the typically efficient Growney had misfired on all three of her shot attempts.
The struggles from Growney, and other members of North Carolina’s offense, resulted in an early fourth-quarter deficit. A deficit that stirred up nightmarish memories for the Tar Heels, who fell to Boston College in the 2021 NCAA semifinals.