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UNC Women’s Lacrosse: Tournament scene setter

Defending champion UNC enters the NCAA Championships as the #4 seed.

2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship Photo by Greg Fiume/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Jenny Levy’s Carolina lacrosse colossus is set to embark on another NCAA Championship tournament. After losing a heartbreaking championship game to Boston College in 2021 by a single goal—losing both a national title and undefeated record—the Tar Heels roared back in 2022, winning the national title against Boston College to finish the year unbeaten.

With so much of last season’s firepower—Jamie Ortega, Scottie Rose Growney, and Taylor Moreno to name a few—gone through graduation, Carolina was staring at a rebuilding project right when their rivals were growing more powerful. Not only that, but the ACC was expanding, with Pitt in its second season and Clemson fielding a team for the first time. There are more schools offering more scholarships, diluting the talent pool that Levy can fish from.

Despite a younger team, Carolina finished the 2023 season on strong footing, reaching the ACC Tournament championship game, before falling to Boston College 9-11. UNC has only lost four times this season, all to ranked schools by a total of 12 goals, and only once at home to #1 Syracuse. The Tar Heels avenged that loss in the ACC Tournament semi-finals, winning 15-9.

For their efforts, Carolina was seeded fourth in the NCAA Championship tournament, only behind schools that they have lost to in the regular season:

As a top-seed in their quadrant, UNC will host their first two rounds at Dorrance Field on campus.

On Friday at 2pm, the Tar Heels will take on Sacred Heart. At 5pm, Richmond take on Marquette with the winner (hopefully) facing Carolina on Sunday at noon. None of the schools in UNC’s quadrant have beaten them, and if they make it to the Final Four, they’d likely have a rematch against #1 Northwestern (who they lost to by four in Evanston) and only one of Boston College or Syracuse, who are both 1-1 against the Heels this season.

For a down year following an undefeated national championship, that’s not the worst row to plow. Let’s see if Coach Levy and the Tar Heels can win national championship #4.