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The Daily Tar Heel

Year in review: UNC women's lacrosse, field hockey, women's tennis and Ultimate Frisbee win national titles

The UNC field hockey team celebrates their victory after the NCAA Field Hockey Championship game against Northwestern in Storrs, Conn. on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. UNC beat Northwestern 2-1.

Throughout the course of 2022, several North Carolina athletic programs captured national championships, reaching the pinnacle of their respective sports.

Here is a look at the journey each team took to take home their prize.

Women's lacrosse

As a No. 1 seed, the Tar Heels earned a first-round bye and blew past the tournament's second round with a 24-2 win over Virginia. After a tight matchup against No. 8 seed Stony Brook, UNC encountered a roadblock in the semifinal against the 4th-seeded Northwestern Wildcats. With 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, UNC found itself down 14-7.

But thanks to graduate attacker Sam Geiersbach's heroic performance, the Tar Heels pulled through. Geiersbach accrued five goals in just over four minutes — part of a nine-goal performance by the Tar Heels in the final quarter — to propel UNC into the championship match. 

After the semifinal win, the Tar Heels faced the group that booted them from the NCAA Tournament in 2021, the Boston College Eagles. 

Following a strong start, fifth-year attacker Scottie Rose Growney helped the Tar Heels claim a narrow 12-10 lead with under three minutes remaining in the title game. Despite a late push by the Eagles, UNC claimed the national championship with a 12-11 final score.

Led by head coach Jenny Levy, this win marked the third title in program history — all of which have come in the last 10 tournaments.

Field hockey

UNC entered the NCAA Tournament boasting a perfect 17-0 record. After dominant wins in the first two rounds of the tournament, North Carolina faced Penn State. The Tar Heels answered this challenge by shutting them out in a 3-0 win.

In the national championship, UNC matched up against Northwestern, a team that eliminated them in the first round the previous season. 

The national championship was arguably one of the Tar Heel's toughest matchups. After a scoreless first quarter, UNC was the first to make a mark on the game with a deflection off first-year forward Ryleigh Heck's stick to make it a 1-0 game. 

Going into the fourth quarter, the Tar Heels had maintained their one-point lead and kept the Wildcats scoreless. With only two minutes remaining, Northwestern tied the game at 1-1. Despite the time rapidly ticking off the clock, UNC remained unfazed. 

Less than 40 seconds after the Wildcats' goal, senior forward Erin Matson found an opening, punching the ball past Northwestern's goalkeeper to claim the title. 

The Tar Heels celebrated by storming the field and hoisting head coach Karen Shelton in the air. The team's national title marks UNC's NCAA-record 10th national championship, all of which have been won during Shelton's tenure. 

Ultimate Frisbee

This year, both the UNC men's (Darkside) and women's (Pleiades) ultimate frisbee teams won their second consecutive national championships at the USA Ultimate D-I College Championships in late May. 

The women's team steamrolled through pool play. The No. 1 Pleiades squad continued its success in the quarterfinals and semifinals with wins over No. 6 British Columbia and No. 4 UC-Santa Barbara, and in the championship game, Pleiades came out victorious with a 12-11 final score against No. 2 Colorado.

Darkside got its revenge against Brown University, the team that had ended UNC's hopes of a victory in 2019. No. 3 UNC was able to hold off the top-seeded Bears as Darkside claimed the title with a 15-10 win. 

Women's tennis

In February, No. 2 UNC tennis faced a matchup in the finals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championship against No. 8 Oklahoma. After dropping sets in their early singles matches, the Tar Heels came out victorious as they claimed their fourth national title in the last five years. 

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This fall, junior Fiona Crawley continued her success. She put on one of the best fall performances collegiate women's tennis has ever seen, finishing with a 17-0 singles record. Her two ITA titles —  the ITA All-American Championships and the ITA Fall National Championships —  certify Crawley as the first woman to win both fall ITA singles majors since 2016.


@dthsports |