The No. 3 North Carolina women's Lacrosse Team (12-3, 7-2 ACC) kicked off the ACC Championship quarterfinals with a vital win against No.17 Clemson (12-5, 4-5 ACC) at American Legion Memorial Stadium in Charlotte on Wednesday night.
The 8:00 p.m. delay affected the Tar Heels as they came out with a slow start. Despite senior Olivia Dirks winning the first faceoff and getting three quick shots on goal, UNC could not get into the game until the end of the first quarter.
Clemson came off strong, weathering UNC's shots and fighting back to score the game's opening goal. But the Tar Heels Caitlyn Wurzburger didn't let up, finally breaking the Clemson defense to make her upper corner shot and round out the first quarter 1-1.
Momentum changed in the second quarter with Lauren Figura scoring off a backside shooting space call. First-year Kaleigh Harden quickly followed with a bullet to get the second goal of the quarter. But things didn't stop there. Figura and first-year Caroline Godine scored the fourth and fifth goals for the Tar Heels.
After going 1-10 on shooting in the first quarter, UNC's offense came together to convert four of five shots on goal within the first 3 minutes of the second. North Carolina's defense matched the intensity, not allowing Clemson to get a shot on goal for ten consecutive minutes.
The Tigers kept fighting to stay in the game, scoring their second goal off the 8-meter. However, senior Nicole Humphrey fought back in the last minute, winning a critical ground ball into a breakaway goal to regain the 8-2 lead.
UNC's Alyssa Long picked up right where she left off, scoring the ninth North Carolina goal. But the next few minutes showed that Clemson wasn't going anywhere. The 9-2 lead slowly closed as Sofia Chepenik and Hanna Hilcoff closed the gap to 9-4.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, their end-of-game efforts weren't enough. The Tar Heels hit a new gear at the end of the third quarter and carried it through the rest of the game. Nicole Humphrey earned a hat trick and three more players got their first goals of the night. North Carolina's clean match ended with only three turnovers, ending in a 15-6 win.