No. 1 UNC women’s lacrosse beat No. 2 Boston College, 16-9, to win its sixth consecutive ACC Championship on Saturday. This matched the ACC record, previously held by Maryland,for consecutive conference titles.
“It was six in a row, but I don't want to cheap on this one because it's hard to be here,” Levy said. “It's hard to finish, especially against such a great B.C. team.”
The Tar Heels, thanks to head coach Jenny Levy and fifth-year attacker Jamie Ortega, also brought home two other ACC records.
Levy, now in her 27th season with the team, set the record for ACC Championship wins as a head coach with seven.
Ortega, who is playing in her fifth and final season under Levy, set the ACC career points record in Saturday's game. Ortega needed four points in the ACC Championship game to pass the 445 career points record. She far surpassed that mark, putting up nine points with four goals and five assists to bring her career total to 451. Her nine points also matched the ACC title game points record.
It was an accomplishment that meant a lot to the seasoned veteran, who has cemented herself as one of the program's all-time greats.
“I’ve been crying twice, which I don’t do,” Ortega said. “It’s just such a huge milestone for me.”
Ortega’s talent as an attacker was on full display Saturday night, particularly on one play late in the second half when she caught a nearly half-field pass from Moreno.
“Most of the time, coaches are wanting me to pass them short,” Moreno said. “With Jamie wide open, I know that I'm going to throw it in that general area and she's going to come up with it.”
After catching the risky long shot, Ortega passed it to sophomore attacker Caitlyn Wurzburger. Wurzburger hustled the short remaining distance to an empty Boston College cage to fire in the final goal of the game. The young attacker jumped up and down as her teammates rushed to embrace her. With a seven-goal lead and just over a minute remaining on the clock, the victory was within the Tar Heels’ reach.
Ortega’s record-breaking performance on Saturday night was essential to North Carolina’s offensive dominance in the second half. Initiated by the attacker’s goal just over a minute into the third quarter, the Tar Heels went on a 10-0 scoring run. Three of these goals came from Ortega and she assisted two others. Ortega is also credited with the assist in the final goal of the game, securing the 16-9 UNC win.
“It's really special to finally see it all come to be because (Ortega) has worked so hard,” fifth-year attacker Scottie Rose Growney said.
Growney had four goals of her own in the win against the Eagles. Midfielder Ally Mastroianni and attacker Andie Aldave, both also in their final year of eligibility, had three goals each.
On the defensive end, graduate goalkeeper Taylor Moreno had a .500 save percentage in Saturday’s matchup to hold the Eagles to nine goals.
“I'm lucky enough to have been here for five of (the ACC Championships), this being the fifth,” Moreno said. “Every single time, the feeling is just absolutely amazing.”
Saturday's win wasn’t a given for the Tar Heels. UNC scored fewest goals in the first half of this game than in any other game this season. Regardless of its slow start, the team showed out in the second half to pull off the 16-9 win.
However, these soon-to-be alumni aren’t done.
“I don't get another do over,” Growney said. “I'm really putting my heart on the field and making sure that I don't have any regrets.”
The No. 1 ranked UNC women's lacrosse team, with a couple new records and an ACC title under its belt, will now prepare for the NCAA Tournament.
“That’s really not that hard,” Levy said of prepping for the NCAA Tournament. “We’ve been in that situation quite a bit.”