Towson falls to No. 3 UNC, 17-8
Senior attackers Ashleigh Rohrback and Andi Raymond recorded hat tricks, but the No. 3 North Carolina Tar Heels dealt Towson a 17-8 blow Saturday in Chapel Hill, N.C. in the teams’ last regular season game.
The loss to the Tar Heels (13-3) marks the third for the Tigers (9-7) against a Top 3 team this season. In those games, they have been outscored 48-23.
“It was nice to be able to play out of conference [in the last week of the regular season].” Head Coach Sonia LaMonica said. “It gives you a taste of who you might see in the NCAA.”
Freshman attacker Gabby Cha got the Tigers on the scoreboard just over a minute into the game, after junior midfielder Paige Duncan won the opening draw. The goal was Cha’s 20th on the season.
The Tar Heels responded with three straight goals from midfielders Maggie Bill and Carly Davis and attacker Sydney Holman. Bill tied the game with 26:25 left in the first half and after a blocked free position attempt from sophomore midfielder Breanna Hamm, Davis made it 2-1.
Freshman midfielder Samantha Brookhart had a shot on goal, attempting to tie the game again, but North Carolina goalie Caylee Waters stuffed it. Instead, Holman added another goal for North Carolina with 16:30 left in the half.
Towson found a quick response to the North Carolina goal, as Rorhback scored her 31st goal of the season to cut the deficit. However, attacker Molly Hendrick halted the Towson momentum with a draw control and a goal to put her team up 4-2.
The Tigers continued to attack the Tar Heels’ defense, getting shots on goal, but could not get past Waters.
However, Rohrback broke through again off a pass from junior attacker Taylor Moore to cut the deficit to 4-3 with 8:12 left. Less than two minutes later, though, North Carolina answered back with a Davis goal. The back-and-forth continued as Raymond got the ensuing draw control and scored just 42 seconds after the North Carolina goal.
A hectic few minutes continued as Holman beat Towson goalie Kelsea Donnelly to make it 6-4 with 5:05 left in the half, less than a minute separated from Raymond’s tally. The Tar Heels scored within two minutes of a Tiger goal three times in the half.
Attacker Carly Reed added to the North Carolina lead with seven seconds remaining in the half. Despite leading in shots (11-10), ground balls (9-7) and draw controls (8-4), Towson found itself down three goals at the break.
North Carolina came out strong in the second half, leading to a 10-4 half that helped them cruise to the win. It outshot Towson 20-10 and won the draw control battle, 10-5.
“We had a strong first half and it was a game,” LaMonica said. “It was pretty evenly-matched. I was really [North Carolina’s] second half. They just owned. They really came out with a different level of intensity.”
Bill gave the Tar Heels a four-goal lead just 34 seconds into the second half. The Tar Heels came out with the offensive momentum, notching three straight shots.
The Tigers needed a response and got it, as freshman midfielder Michelle Gildea scored in her third straight game to cut the deficit to 8-5. However, the Tar Heels found an answer again when Hendrick beat Donnelly for the goal.
Defender Sloane Serpe added to the North Carolina lead, making it 10-5 with 21:38 left in the game. Just 21 seconds later, Holman made it 11-5, and 34 seconds after that, attacker Abbey Friend gave North Carolina its biggest lead.
After another Tar Heel goal, Raymond found Rohrback who score her third goal to cut the deficit to 13-6 with 15:40 left.
The teams went back-and-forth again, as Raymond score two more goals and Serpe and teammate Aly Messinger combined to make it 15-8.
The Tar Heels would add on two more goals, clinching the second-worst loss for the Tigers this season.
Towson will now look to the CAA tournament, where it clinched the No. 1 seed and will play on Friday. The tournament begins Friday in Williamsburg, Va.
“We expect to win [the CAA tournament],” LaMonica said. “This is an area that we’ve had success before and we expect to continue that. We’ll take it one step at a time, but we’re excited to hopefully redeem ourselves from some of our earlier losses.”