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Women’s Lacrosse returns to the Final Four

One year after being upset by Navy, the Heels return to the national semifinals.

2013 NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse Championship - North Carolina v Maryland Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

North Carolina’s women’s lacrosse team earned a berth to the Final Four this past weekend. Thanks to 17 saves by redshirt freshman Taylor Moreno, the Heels outlasted the Northwestern Wildcats 19-14. The 17 saves tied a career high in Moreno’s very young Tar Heel career.

On offense, eight Tar Heels scored, led by freshman Jamie Ortega’s five goals. Ela Hazar and Marie McCool, who was the second overall pick in the inaugural Women’s Professional Lacrosse League draft, added three goals apiece. Katie Hoeg earned her 84th point of the season on her only goal of the game, breaking the all-time UNC single-season record. That total climbed to 87 points after she added 3 assists.

The Final Four will be North Carolina’s 7th Final Four appearance in the last 10 years, the sixth appearance this decade, and the third in the last four years. Last season ended after a shocking first round upset to Navy, and the team appears determined to make amends and repeat their championship performance of 2016. After securing their third consecutive ACC championship, they were awarded the #2 overall seed in the NCAA tournament.

Their reward will be a James Madison team that defeated the Heels 15-14 in double overtime in the first game of the season. That game was played in Harrisonburg, VA at James Madison’s campus. They play on Friday at 5PM in Stony Brook, NY.

If UNC wins, they’ll face either ACC regular season champion Boston College or reigning national champion Maryland. The Heels split two games with Boston College, losing in the regular season but defeating them in the ACC tournament finals. They also defeated Maryland 16-15, in an overtime game in Chapel Hill.