The University of North Carolina is known for their successful athletic programs. Men’s basketball has a reputation for greatness, having helped developed the skills of some of the most famous basketball players in the world. Women’s soccer has dominated their league for years, winning a record 21 national championships. One athletic program in particular that has risen in the ranks over the past decade is women’s lacrosse.
The program was started in 1994 when Jenny Levy, a recent graduate from the University of Virginia, was hired as the head coach. Over the years, Coach Levy has built up the women’s lacrosse program. UNC women’s lacrosse has had nine appearances in the the NCAA championship, including six in the last eight years. In 2013, the team met top ranked Northwestern in the NCAA finals and narrowly defeated them, 13-12. The Tar Heels finished the season ranked number one and showed their dominance on the nation level.
The Tar Heels were back again in the final in 2015 but were defeated in a close game 9-8 by Maryland. During the 2016 season, the team set a record for the most wins with 20 and fewest losses with two in a season as going as went undefeated in the ACC regular season. The Heels went back to the championship game with vengeance on the mind, beating undefeated Maryland 13-7.
This year the team has started out the season ranked number one in the NCAA and up until Feb. 25 were on a 20 game winning streak. Their winning streak came to an end when the Heels played Maryland away and loss 13-10. However, it is not hard to draw parallels to the 2016 season where the Heels also lost to Maryland in the regular season before beating them in the championship.
“We have to get a lot better, but the season is marathon. We’re not afraid to fail and now it’s time to learn from it” said Levy in a statement to the Daily Tar Heel.
With months before the championship it is hard to tell how far the Heels will go but it is clear that the team has emerged as a women’s lacrosse powerhouse.
Photo courtesy of Rich Barnes, USA TODAY Sports