NCAA Preview: No. 3 North Carolina
by Powell Latimer | Special to Lacrosse Magazine
The February issue of Lacrosse Magazine features an extensive NCAA lacrosse preview, from Division I through Division III, plus in-depth features on the top-ranked Syracuse men and the snake-bitten Cal women. Lacrosse Magazine Online (laxmagazine.com) examines the key players, strengths, weaknesses, best- and worst-case scenarios, sleepers, what's new, what's not and rival coaches' takes on each of the top 10-ranked teams in Division I men's and women's lacrosse.
NO. 3 NORTH CAROLINA
Senior Mia Hurrin is an experienced defender for North Carolina, but not necessarily the shut-down type the Tar Heels have boasted in recent years.
© Jeff Camarti
Head Coach: Jenny Levy
2010 Records: 17-3, 4-1
A Corey Donohoe (Jr.)
Juggernaut set UNC's single-season record for points last year. Said Levy: "You tell me who you're going to put on her. She can dodge, she can finish."
A Becky Lynch (Jr.)
Lynch scored 41 goals last season for UNC and will have to form a one-two punch with Donohoe for UNC to have success.
D Katy Fitzgerald (Jr.)
The Tar Heel defense needs an intimidating presence somewhere on the field. They'll start with Fitzgerald and rely on her to back up a defense that is long on experience but short on size.
• Veteran attack with plenty of weapons and speed should
make for fireworks
• Experience on the defensive side of the ball
• New goalie
• Draw specialist could make long scoring runs more difficult
Maksym takes to her starting role with gusto to anchor the efense, and the Heels' awesome attack keeps them competitive in the ACC and nationally.
The talented offense can't make up for the deficits on defense and at midfield, and the Heels have another "always a bridesmaid" kind of season.
M Kara Cannizzaro (So.)
Crafty scorer tallied 19 goals off the bench last year and will move into an expanded role this season. UNC needs a complementary scoring threat out of the midfield and Cannizzaro may take that role.
RIVAL COACH'S TAKE
"UNC lost a lot of key players. They're still going to be really, really tough. Any team when you graduate that many players there's going to be an adjustment."
"They graduated a really good senior class. They have a lot of holes, but they always have good freshmen that will be ready to fill in. They've been to back to back final fours, and I'm sure they want to put that as their goal to win a national championship even though they graduated a big senior class."
"That program has really taken it to the next level."
"They're athletic, tough and they now can back up their swagger with two final four appearances."
"Speed, speed and more speed. A very deep roster will help them deal with the rigors of the year."
"How they fill the void in the midfield and on the defensive end will make or break some close games."
North Carolina does not have an established shut-down defender for the first time in years.
The Tar Heels have another brutal schedule. In March they play Penn, Denver, Virginia, Georgetown, Cornell and Boston College.
Times North Carolina has beaten Northwestern in the past four years, more than anyone else during that span.