Unseeded Navy closed the game on a 6-1 run in the final 16:06 and defeated defending national champion North Carolina, 16-14, in an NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Tournament quarterfinal on Saturday at Fetzer Field.
After trailing most of the first half, the Tar Heels went on a 5-0, second-half run to take a 13-10 lead with 17:39 to play. Navy responded with its 6-1 run, including three goals in a row to retie the score four minutes later, and a 3-0 run in the final 11:37 to ice the victory.
Navy (18-4) moves on to its first NCAA semifinal appearance and will meet Boston College next Friday in Foxborough, Mass. The Tar Heels (17-3) were seeking their seventh Final Four trip in the last nine years and fell to 21-3 all-time at home in NCAA tournament play.
“Congratulations to Navy,” UNC coach Jenny Levy said. “They’re a tough team, and they played a great game. They have some Tar Heels there on the sideline in (former Tar Heel) Aly Messinger and Matt Holman (former UNC men’s player), and I definitely thought they came in really well prepared with great energy.”
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Sammy Jo Tracy ended her five-year run as a Tar Heel with a career-high five goals, along with four draw controls. Molly Hendrick and Marie McCool both had three goals and an assist, and Ela Hazar had two goals and three assists. Marisa DiVietro added a goal, Katie Hoeg had two assists and Carly Reed had an assist.
Kelly Larkin led the Midshipmen with four goals and two assists, and Jenna Collins had three goals and two assists. Meg O’Donnell scored three times, Morgan Young had two goals and an assist and Julia Collins scored twice. Kayla Harris and Molly O’Sullivan added single goals.
The Tar Heels outshot the Midshipmen, 38-35, but Navy won the ground balls, 23-15, and had 18 draw controls to Carolina’s 15.
“I’m obviously incredibly disappointed in the result (today), but not disappointed in the journey I’ve taken with this team this year,” Levy said. “They’ve worked hard, they cared, and I don’t have any regrets. They shouldn’t, either. They’ve held their heads high and battled all year.”
Saturday marked the final event in Fetzer Field, the longtime home of the Tar Heel lacrosse and soccer programs, before renovations begin at the venue on Monday. The teams will play elsewhere during the 2017-18 academic year until the renovated Fetzer reopens for 2018-19.