Marie McCool kept seeing her team lose the draw control.
Her team — composed of fellow North Carolina women’s lacrosse alumni, including pro players and national team members — kept conceding the draw to current UNC players, who have yet to make their name.
That excited McCool.
Granted, McCool is an assistant coach, so even a 19-14 loss for the alumni team was a win for her. But Saturday's scrimmage between No. 3 North Carolina women's lacrosse and an all-star squad of Tar Heel alumni also showed her that a UNC draw unit hampered by injuries would not shy away from its task. This comes at the perfect time: the Tar Heels start their season this weekend against an elite draw unit, No. 6 James Madison.
“In life there's a lot of things that are out of our control,” McCool said, “but the way that you respond to those things is something that you can control."
This season, UNC’s draw unit will be without midfielders Kaleigh Harden and Sophie Student due to injury. That’s more holes to fill for a team already reeling from key injuries to its defenders and attackers, including Brooklyn Walker-Welch, Marissa White and Chloe Humphrey.
Saturday was no slight task for the current Tar Heels to take on, either. Five players on the alumni roster played professionally for Athletes Unlimited Lacrosse last summer. In most cases, it was UNC’s all-time draw controls leader Ally Mastroianni earning possessions for the alumni.
The game was full of high-IQ moments from the alumni that McCool used as teaching moments for her players about poise and not always going "super fast."