Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/29/19
From Press Release
For the fourth consecutive year, North Carolina is taking home the Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Lacrosse Championship trophy – with help from two Philly women.
For the second straight year, the second-seeded and visiting Tar Heels found a way past a previously unbeaten and top-ranked Boston College team in the title game.
UNC spotted the top-seeded Eagles a five-goal lead in the opening minutes, and then regrouped behind a stout defensive effort to earn a 15-13 victory in Sunday’s tournament championship match at Alumni Stadium.
“That’s what championship play is all about,” UNC head coach Jenny Levy said. “There is no story to be told until the game is played. We just encouraged them to stick together and keep fighting. It was a tough game – very physical out there today. I thought we responded well without being emotional.”
A crowd of 2,103 saw Levy’s Tar Heels outscore Boston College 14-7 over the final 51 minutes to secure the program’s fifth ACC title (2002, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019). UNC sophomore attacker Jamie Ortega, who tallied 19 points with 13 goals in three tournament games, earned MVP honors.
Two from the region – Gianna Bowe (Clearview Regional-NJ) and Scottie Rose Growney (Conestoga) – played key roles for the Heels. Bowe had three goals, one assists, two groundballs and two draw controls, earning her a spot on the all-tourney team. Growney had a goal and two assists.
“In our locker room (Coach Levy) said ‘the only belief that matters is inside our locker room, and that’s in each other,'” Ortega said. “We were so confident in one another and we have this amazing feeling this year that we can do anything. Our biggest competitor isn’t any other team, it’s just ourselves. We believe in each other, and we love each other, and we trust each other, and that’s why we won today – just believing in each other.”
Besides Bowe and Ortega, the Tar Heels (15-3) placed attacker Katie Hoeg, defender Emma Trenchard and goalkeeper Elise Hennessey on the All-Tournament team. Hennessey played particularly well after replacing All-ACC teammate Taylor Moreno in goal at the 21:18 mark of the first half with BC leading, 6-1, holding her own against the Eagles’ high-powered offense while recording seven saves.
Hoeg, Bowe and Tayler Warehime each finished with hat tricks for UNC, which evened the season series following a 14-8 loss to Eagles at Chapel Hill during the regular season.
Sam Apuzzo’s three goals led Boston College (19-1), and Dempsey Arsenault and Kenzie Kent each added pair of goals and one assist. The trio also earned spots on the All-Tournament Team, along with Syracuse’s Emily Hawryschuk and Grace Fahey, and Duke’s Olivia Jenner and Gabbe Cadoux.
The Eagles knocked the Tar Heels back at the outset, blitzing their way to a 5-0 lead in less than seven minutes. Apuzzo tallied the first two Boston College scores, followed by a pair from Cara Urbank and another by Taylor Walker on nifty scoop of a ground ball.
But UNC – trailing 6-1 with 19 minutes remaining in the opening half – answered with five unanswered goals of its own and pulled even at 6-6 on Bowe’s unassisted goal with 9:52 on the clock.
The Eagles regrouped from there to regain a 9-7 lead at the break, with Kent scoring two of Boston College’s three goals in the final 7:32 of the first half.
Carolina scored the first three goals of the second half and took its first lead of the match at 10-9 on Hoeg’s goal off a pass from Olivia Ferrucci with 23:54 remaining.
The Tar Heels scored three unanswered goal to go up 14-11 with 8:14 left to play. Ortega found Warehime for the score that put UNC on top for keeps, and unassisted goals by Bowe and Kara Klages provided the cushion.
Boston College, which rallied from three goals down in the final seven minutes to stun Syracuse in Friday night’s semifinals, again scrapped back to within 14-13 on Jordan Lappin’s free position goal at 5:56.
But a hustle play by Hoeg all but sealed the match for the Tar Heels. The Mattituck, New York, junior ran down a ground ball off a missed shot and then moved in for a close-range score with 2:03 left that accounted for the final 15-13 margin.
“It was a great game,” Levy said. “We were down (6-1) at the beginning of the game, we just really encouraged our kids all day to keep fighting, and they did. There were a lot of tough plays out there, both ways, between two really good teams. Boston College is great, they have had a great season and they came in with a lot of momentum. We had to neutralize their top players and take care of their secondary players who are also very good. I don’t know how many lead changes there were, but I felt like we were fighting back the whole game. We tied it up, and then we got behind again – we were behind by two going into halftime. Our players just stuck together, which they have done all year, and we continued to improve. I thought our whole ACC Tournament, our seniors really played well against Duke yesterday and played great today, and I just want to congratulate our senior class for their tremendous play and leadership. They really made a big difference for us today.”
UNC’s four consecutive ACC Women’s Lacrosse Championship titles are the second-most in the history of the event behind Maryland’s six straight from 2009 through 2014.
The Tar Heels, ranked No. 3 nationally, and the Eagles are both in position for prime seeding in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. The field is scheduled to be announced next Sunday evening (May 5). The ACC owns 16 NCAA women’s lacrosse titles and has placed a team in the national championship game in nine of the last 10 years.