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The Daily Tar Heel

Challenging schedule awaits UNC women's lacrosse in quest for second straight national title


Fifth-year attacker Scottie Rose Growney (15) celebrates after scoring a goal during UNC’s NCAA national championship game against Boston College at Homewood Field in Baltimore, Md. on May 29, 2022. UNC won 12-11.

After an undefeated season that resulted in a national championship, the North Carolina women’s lacrosse team will look to keep its place atop the national rankings in 2023.

Following the departures of offensive stars Jamie Ortega and Ally Mastroianni and defensive anchors Emma Trenchard and Taylor Moreno, head coach Jenny Levy will look to utilize pieces to take on larger roles in the team's challenging 15-game season. Players such as junior attacker Caitlyn Wurzburger, sophomore defender Brooklyn Walker-Welch and senior midfielder Olivia Dirks are all expected to be key contributors to the team's title defense.

With the season soon set to begin, the Tar Heels will partake in a number of marquee matchups.

North Carolina will face Elon at home on Feb. 4 for an exhibition match. The team will then play three games at Dorrance Field over the span of one week against James Madison on Feb. 11, Liberty on Feb. 15 and Florida on Feb. 18.

The Gators finished fifth in NCAA RPI rankings last year after falling to Maryland in the Elite Eight and are well-equipped to make another impressive run. On top of returning top scorers in attackers Danielle Pavinelli and Emma LoPinto, Florida picked up former UNC captain and attacker Taylor Warehime, whose veteran experience could provide the missing piece in the Gators’ young, talented arsenal.

North Carolina will travel to Blacksburg to face Virginia Tech on Feb. 24 before returning home to play rival Boston College on March 4. Although the Eagles won’t return all-time NCAA scoring record holder Charlotte North, their elite offense spearheaded by graduate attacker Jenn Medjid still makes them a formidable opponent. Considering the national pedigree of both sides, UNC and Boston College should once again be top contenders for the ACC crown in late April.

The Tar Heels will play Virginia on March 11 at home before trekking to Kentucky for a matchup with Louisville on March 16. UNC’s first true road test will be at Northwestern on March 19.

Last year, the Wildcats held a commanding 14-7 lead over North Carolina in the Final Four with 10:15 to play. Then, UNC attacker Sam Geiersbach erupted for five goals as part of an 8-0 run to pull off an improbable comeback.

In that matchup, Northwestern was without 2021 Tewaaraton finalist Izzy Scane, who missed the entire 2022 season with a torn ACL. This year, she’ll be back to bolster the offense, who won’t return two of its top three scorers in Lauren Gilbert and Jill Girardi.

UNC will play a pair of home games against High Point on March 23 and Clemson on March 26 before traveling to South Bend, Ind. for a bout with Notre Dame on April 1. The Tar Heels will then play Pittsburgh on April 7 at home before heading east for an in-state matchup at East Carolina on April 11.

North Carolina will play Syracuse at home on April 15. The Orange are led by the only returning Tewaaraton finalist in attacker Meaghan Tyrrell, who was ranked by InsideLacrosse as the No. 1 collegiate player entering 2023. Tyrrell notched 78 goals and 33 assists last season, earning her All-ACC First Team honors.

The Tar Heels cap off their regular season at Duke on April 20. Although UNC has not fallen to the Blue Devils since 2014, key players to watch out for in this matchup include attacker Katie DeSimone and midfielder Olivia Carner. Maddie Jenner is another important piece, as she will return for her fifth season after tallying an NCAA single-season record of 233 draw controls.


@dthsports |

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Daniel Wei

Daniel Wei is a 2023-24 assistant sports editor at The Daily Tar Heel. He has previously served as a senior writer. Daniel is a junior pursuing a double major in business administration and economics.