The ECU women’s lacrosse team could not keep up with No. 3 North Carolina, falling 21-3 on Sunday afternoon inside Kenan Stadium.
“We showed improvement in the second half,” said head coach Amanda Barnes Moore. “It’s tough coming out 15-0 against the No. 3 team in the country. We tried to make as many adjustments as we could. I’m proud of the fight we showed to come out and battle in the second half, knowing that there’s 30 minutes left, knowing that we’re down 15, to not give up and to not fold. That shows character and that’s something we’re trying to build as a program.”
ECU (2-1) struggled to match North Carolina (3-0) at the draw circle as the Tar Heels won 19 of the 25 draw controls during the game. That number included the first four of the game, all four of which led to North Carolina goals. ECU finally got control of the ball when Christina White was able to stop a Tar Heel shot and Amy Jarvis scooped up the ground ball.
The Pirates could not get anything going on the offensive end, while the North Carolina offense kept humming. The Tar Heels went on to lead 15-0 at halftime with a 26-3 edge in shot. White finished the first half with six saves to keep the deficit from stretching any further.
The second half saw an improved performance from the Pirates. ECU got the first goal of the second stanza, as ECU cleared the ball after a save by White, with Hannah Rzempoluch eventually earning a free position shot on the left side of the North Carolina cage. Rzempoluch took advantage, pumping a shot over the shoulder of the Tar Heel goalkeeper and into the upper corner of the goal.
After a Tar Heel goal, ECU scored once again through Rzempoluch. This time the goal came off a feed from Brittany Borchers, with Rzempoluch finishing off the pass.
ECU added one more goal in the final few minutes. Caroline Inderlied earned a free position shot on the right side of the arc and was able to cash it in for the final goal of the game.
North Carolina finished with a 45-8 edge in shots and a 19-12 advantage in ground balls. Jamie Ortega led the Tar Heels with four goals while Katie Hoeg had a goal and five assists.
White finished with 14 saves for ECU, her third straight game with at least 10 saves. White also led the team with four ground balls with Amy Jarvis adding three of her own. Megan Pollozzi had a team-best four draw controls.
“Outstanding day for Christina White,” Barnes Moore said. “Anytime a goalkeeper sees that volume of shots, fatigue is going to set in, especially on a wet surface. But especially coming out of our second half, Christina really gave us a bunch of defensive momentum and confidence, which we were able to generate some offensive looks off of.”
ECU will stay on the road for a pair of games next weekend. First up will be a game against George Washington on Friday, Feb. 22.
“We just talked about the locker room, we schedule these opponents to prepare us for our conference opponents,” Barnes Moore finished. “Ultimately, you want to win these games and compete in these games, but if we want to be a great program, we’ve got to be willing to compete against great teams. This game today, against No. 3 North Carolina, prepares us to not only take on George Washington, but the other top teams in our conference, which includes the University of Florida.”