WEB EXCLUSIVE: To earn a spot in Sunday's NCAA Division I women's lacrosse championship game, North Carolina used suffocating defense to limit a Northwestern team that had scored 15 goals in back-to-back tournament games to just four goals on Friday.
But the question remains, can the Tar Heels do the same in the title game against a team with as many offensive weapons as No. 1 Maryland possesses?
Against Syracuse in their national semifinal, the Terrapins received a team-high three goals from midfielder Kelly McPartland as the Orange keyed in defensively on Maryland leading scorers Alex Aust and Kelly Schwarzmann.
"That's who teams pick out and try and go against and match up with," McPartland said of her two teammates after beating Syracuse, 11-10. "But if we move the ball, we have so many offensive players that anyone can do it. I just happened to be in the open spots but anybody on our offense can do that."
North Carolina had six different players score in an 11-4 victory over Northwestern. But according to Tar Heels coach Jenny Levy, more often than not it's her team's variety of defensive sets that make the difference.
"We really wanted to try and come in, like any opponent we play, and make uncomfortable," said Levy on Friday. "And change things up and never let them get into a rhythm. We have great athletes on defense. . .we have the ability to run a lot of different things."