The North Carolina women’s lacrosse team came out firing on all cylinders and throttled Virginia in the second round of the NCAA tournament 23-12 on Sunday afternoon at Fetzer Field.
The Tar Heels will host Navy at 1 p.m. on Saturday in a quarterfinal match. The Tar Heels will be playing for a third straight Final Four appearance.
The 23 goals were a season high, breaking the previous mark of 21 set against the Cavaliers this past March. The win also comes on the heels of midfielder Marie McCool being named a finalist for Tewaaraton Award, the highest individual award in the sport.
From the opening whistle, the Tar Heels (17-2) were on the attack, getting 8 of their 10 shots on goal, which resulted in an early 6-2 lead. Carly Reed came out on fire for the Heels, scoring three of the six goals.
“I thought it was a total team effort today,” UNC coach Jenny Levy said. “I think we did a great job on the loose balls, and Marie McCool and Carly Reed did a good job setting the tempo in the first half in transition and on the draw.”
Virginia (12-9) also looked rattled by the quick start by the Tar Heels. The Cavaliers had the same number of fouls, 10, as they did total shots within the first 16 minutes of the game.
Going into halftime, the Heels doubled up the Cavaliers 12-6 following another goal from Reed with an assist from Sydney Holman. Reed and McCool were the offensive forces for the Heels, totaling five goals and four goals and two assists, respectively, for the two players.
The Heels were aggressive throughout the half, ending with 23 shots and 18 on net, as well as winning 13 draw controls, nearly double the Cavaliers’ seven. The Cavaliers, however, struggled to get anything going, totaling 17 fouls for the half.
The Tar Heels again started fast, opening the second half with three goals in three minutes, including a goal each for Reed and McCool.
The Tar Heels maintained a steady amount of ball control to keep the scoring opportunities for the Cavaliers to a minimum as the Cavs only scored six more goals during the final 30 minutes of the game.
Reed and McCool provided the offensive firepower for the Tar Heels, combining for 11 total goals and two assists Reed showed that she is capable of being the offensive force the team needs to continue its tournament run, as she scored a career-high six goals against the Cavaliers.
As for McCool, she showed why she was named a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award, even on plays she didn’t possess the ball. McCool was always around the play and played hard-nosed defense throughout the match.
“I thought from front to back and back to front, the team played very well,” Levy said. “We gave up some things we’ll improve on, but overall what a great day.”