In a game that almost everyone predicted UNC to win, us included, Navy shocked the women’s lacrosse world by dominating the last 10 minutes of the Elite 8 game to take out the defending champs on their home field. It was the last game in the history of the current Fetzer Field and it will forever be remembered as one of the largest upsets in UNC women’s lacrosse history.
Several years ago UVA defeated the Tar Heels at Fetzer Field in the Elite 8 but UVA was team that came into that game ranked in the top 15 and having played UNC twice already. That was not the case with this Navy team. While Aly Messinger did bring some experience to the sidelines for the the Navy Midshipman no one foresaw this type of game.
From the outset, UNC found themselves in a tight game. Neither team could get ahead by more than two goals in the second half as each team kept fighting back after getting down. At halftime, the Tar Heels went into the locker room down 7-8 but got a goal in the final seconds by Marie McCool to give them some momentum.
In the early part of the second half UNC scored five straight goals to go up 13-10 and most people thought the writing was on the wall. Not the Navy Midshipmen. They came back and scored three in a row to tie up the game with just over 13 minutes to go in the game. From there, it was all Navy. The Tar Heels could only muster one goal and didn’t score in the last 10 minutes of the game.
A key part of the final 10 minutes was Molly Hendrick getting her second yellow card of the game with 3:31 to play. Immediately after the yellow card, she pulled out her mouthpiece and screaming at the official. Both of her yellow cards came at crucial points in the game.
Interestingly, in the 2014 game against UVA in which the Tar Heels lost in the Elite 8, Hendrick was a freshman who had an open shot with under one minute to play to tie the game and missed it. She was a tremendous leader that won a national championship in Chapel Hill but missed opportunities to send the Tar Heels to the Final Four in her freshman and senior seasons.
The Tar Heels ended up losing 16-14 and had to watch the Midshipmen celebrate on Fetzer Field knowing they will never play on that field again.