North Carolina Tar Heels women's lacrosse

The North Carolina Tar Heels women's lacrosse team represents the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I women's lacrosse[2] and currently competes as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).[2] The North Carolina women's lacrosse team won the ACC tournament in 2002 and their first Division 1 National Championship in 2013.[3]

North Carolina Tar Heels
Founded1996 (varsity)
UniversityUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Head coachJenny Levy (20th season)
LocationChapel Hill, North Carolina
ConferenceAtlantic Coast Conference
NicknameTar Heels
ColorsCarolina Blue and White[1]
NCAA Tournament championships
2013, 2016
NCAA Tournament Runner-Up
2009, 2015
NCAA Tournament Final Fours
1997, 1998, 2002, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019
NCAA Tournament appearances
1997, 1998,1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Conference Tournament championships
2002, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Conference regular season championships
1998, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017


UNC started a women's lacrosse program in 1994 due to Title IX.[4] Jenny Levy, a recent graduate from the University of Virginia was hired as the head coach.[4] Reflecting on why she was hired Levy stated, “I was 24 years old, and I think I got hired because I was pretty cheap, very ambitious and high energy, I believed in the school and what we could sell here to student-athletes with academic opportunity and great tradition. I focused on what I knew and could do.”[4]

The task of creating a successful women's lacrosse team was challenging; during the preliminary years of the program Levy had only a part-time assistant and a small budget.[5] She still managed to bring in talented recruits, some of which were transfers and some were members of the UNC women's soccer team, which at the time had 14 NCAA Championships in 16 years.[4]

Another obstacle was being a part of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), which had the University of Maryland and the University of Virginia, two established women's lacrosse teams.[5] Levy stated, “we rose pretty quickly, but there was not a lot of foundation, and it is very hard to establish tradition when you are a young program; sitting where I am today, I have learned that it takes a while to establish things that identify with the program that is unique to just that program.”[5]

Although the task at hand was difficult the Tar Heels started out with success early on with a 12–4 record in its first varsity season of 1996.[5] In their second year, UNC made the NCAA semifinals with a 14–4 record, tallying two victories against the Virginia Cavaliers. In UNC's third season, the Tar Heels beat the eventual NCAA champion Maryland two times and reached the semifinals of the NCAA again.[5] By the third season in program history UNC claimed the number 2 overall ranking.[4]

Levy's program grew stronger as years passed and certain perks came along with that success; Levy was granted a full-time assistant and UNC started to increase their athletic support staff overall.[4]

Levy spoke of the early years saying “It was a gradual process of pushing and asking; it was a process for all Carolina sports, and slowly we have made progress with that, but even with it, the athletic program has been very successful.”[4]

The UNC Women's Lacrosse team is in their 19th season of program history. Phil Barnes has served as the Assistant Coach for 10 seasons.[6] Katrina Dowd joined the Tar Heels in 2012–2013 season to help them win their first National Championship.[7]

Individual career records


Record Number Player Years
Goals198Abbey Friend2011–14
Assists132Katie Hoeg2017-present
Points256Corey Donohoe2008–11
Ground balls200Jenn Cook2004–07
Draw controls327Sammy Jo Tracy2013–17
Saves564Kristen Hordy2004–07
Save %.592Debbie Castine1996–99
GAA6.13Debbie Castine1996–99

Individual single-season records

Record Number Player Year
Goals81Jamie Ortega2019
Assists73Katie Hoeg2019
Points112Jamie Ortega2019
Ground balls87Sarah Dacey1997
Draw controls145Sammy Jo Tracy2017
Saves178Caylee Waters2017
Save %.602Debbie Castine1996
GAA5.52Debbie Castine1997


Season Coach Overall Conference Standing Postseason
NCAA Division I (Independent) (1996–1996)
1996 Jenny Levy 12–4
NCAA Division I (Atlantic Coast Conference) (1997–present)
1997 Jenny Levy 14–42–12ndNCAA Semifinal
1998 Jenny Levy 15–33–01stNCAA Semifinal
1999 Jenny Levy 8–71–2T-2ndNCAA First Round
2000 Jenny Levy 12–62–1T-1stNCAA Quarterfinal
2001 Jenny Levy 11–71–23rdNCAA Quarterfinal
2002 Jenny Levy 17–32–12ndNCAA Semifinal
2003 Jenny Levy 7–90–34th
2004 Jenny Levy 9–70–34th
2005 Jenny Levy 14–62–2T-3rdNCAA Quarterfinal
2006 Jenny Levy 13–64–1T-1stNCAA Quarterfinal
2007 Jenny Levy 16–53–2T-3rdNCAA Quarterfinal
2008 Jenny Levy 13–72–3T-4thNCAA Quarterfinal
2009 Jenny Levy 16–54–12ndNCAA Runner-up
2010 Jenny Levy 17–34–1T-1stNCAA Semifinal
2011 Jenny Levy 15–63–23rdNCAA Semifinal
2012 Jenny Levy 15–45–01stNCAA Quarterfinal
2013 Jenny Levy 18–34–12ndNCAA Champions
2014 Jenny Levy 15–55–23rdNCAA Quarterfinal
2015 Jenny Levy 18–46–11stNCAA Runner-up
2016 Jenny Levy 20–27–01stNCAA Champions
2017 Jenny Levy 17–37–01stNCAA Quarterfinal

{{CBB yearly record entry

championship =confboth season = 2018 name = Jenny Levy overall = 17–4 conference = 6–1 confstanding = 2nd postseason =NCAA Semifinal
Total:329–113 (.744)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

2013 National Championship

When asked about constructing a national championship-type team, Head Coach Levy stated that “its not just a one-year thing for us."[9] The team expects success because they have been a perennial final four team for the past 5 years.[9] Even though they had not won a National Title until 2013 they expect to be in a position to do so year in and year out.[9] She stressed the importance of the recruiting process; the team consists of not only talented lacrosse players, but also hard workers with an ability to sacrifice self-interest for the team. The freshmen are expected to be on “a constant ascension of personal development, athletically, academically, and in the community."[9]

The 2013 Tar Heels had a small senior class with only 5 players[3] and ended their previous season with an early loss in the post season (their first time not making it to the final-four in three years).[3] This was the first year that Katrina Dowd joined the coaching staff to help build a dynamic attacking unit.[7] This was a young team with a lot of change going into the 2013 season. In the season opener against The University of Florida, the Tar Heels lost 5–3.[3] The team went on an 11-game winning streak after the loss to Florida, but the margins of victory were not very large.[3] Their most notable win during the 11 game winning streak was their 11–8 win over the reigning National Champions, Northwestern. The Tar Heels went on to defeat every team they played besides Maryland once in regular season (April 6) and once in the ACC Championship (April 28).[3] These two losses were crucial to the team's success in the NCAA tournament because they eventually took down the Terrapins in a Triple OT thriller to secure their first National Championship in the 18-year program history.[3]

When Jenny Levy was asked: "What’s it going to take for UNC to repeat as national champions?" she responded "Nothing’s changed, but everything has changed. We’re a tough group, and I think more than anything this championship is a tipping point for us because it validates what we’ve always talked about.[9] Now our players have experienced that and they won’t forget that.[9] We’re going to enjoy the championship right now but we’ll begin again in August and we’ll start from the very beginning and work our way back up. It took a lot of hard work, a lot of belief and a lot of trust and I think those lessons will stay with us for a long time."[9]

2013 Season Performance

Date Team Outcome
Feb 09Florida3–5 (L)[3]
Feb 15Towson9–6(W)[3]
Feb 17Richmond14–7(W)[3]
Feb 22Northwestern11–8(W)[3]
Mar 02Penn11–5(W)[3]
Mar 09Virginia8–7(W)[3]
Mar 12High Point15–6(W)[10]
Mar 16Georgetown17–11(W)[3]
Mar 20Cornell11–10(W)[3]
Mar 23Boston College19–11(W)[3]
Mar 28Duke12–11(W) OT[3]
Mar 30Virginia Tech18–11(W)[3]
Apr 06Maryland13–14(L)[3]
Apr 12Jacksonville16–4(W)[3]
Apr 20Vanderbilt20–5(W)[3]
Apr 26Boston College16–6(W)[3]
Apr 28Maryland8–12(L)[3]
May 12Loyola19–9(W)[3]
May 18Virginia13–9(W)[3]
May 24Northwestern11–4(W)[3]
May 26Maryland13–12(W)(30T)'[3]

Individual honors

First Team All Americans

  • Sarah Darcey-1996[11]
  • Erin McGinnis- 1998[11]
  • Brooke Crawford- 1998, 1999[11]
  • Porter Wilkinson- 2000, 2002[11]
  • Christine McPike- 2001, 2002[11]
  • Andy Fortino- 2002[11]
  • Kellie Thompson- 2002[11]
  • Jenn Cook- 2005, 2006, 2007[11]
  • Amber Falcon- 2008, 2009[11]
  • Logan Ripley- 2009[11]
  • Jenn Russell- 2009, 2010[11]
  • Kristen Carr, 2010[11]
  • Corey Donohoe- 2012, 2011[11]
  • Mia Hurrin- 2011[11]
  • Laura Zimmerman – 2011, 2012[11]
  • Becky Lynch- 2012[11]
  • Sloane Serpe- 2013, 2014[11]
  • Kara Cannazzaro- 2013[11]
  • Mary Morgan Bitler- 2014
  • Abbey Friend – 2014
  • Madeleine Loeb- 2014
  • Claire Scott- 2014
  • Ali Valinksi- 2014

Postseason Results

The Tar Heels have appeared in 20 NCAA tournaments. Their postseason record is 32–18.[12]

Year Seed Round Opponent Score
Loyola (MD)
W, 12–11 (ot)
L, 8–10
#3 Maryland
W, 10–9
L, 9–14
1999First RoundGeorgetownL, 6–7
2000#4QuarterfinalLoyola (MD)L, 5–7
2001#6First Round
#11 Syracuse
#3 Georgetown
W, 14–9
L, 4–10
2002#3First Round
#2 Princeton
W, 22–6
W, 14–13 (2ot)
L, 2–16
2005First Round
#7 Penn State
#2 Duke
W, 7–6 (3ot)
L, 7–15
2006#5First Round
#4 Northwestern
W, 9–6
L, 6–17
2007#6First Round
#3 Virginia
W, 14–7
L, 8–14
2008First Round
#4 Virginia
#5 Syracuse
W, 11–7
L, 11–13
2009#3First Round
#6 Notre Dame
#2 Maryland
#1 Northwestern
W, 15–4
W, 16–10
W, 8–7
L, 7–21
2010#3First Round
#6 Virginia
#2 Northwestern
W, 18–5
W, 17–7
L, 10–15
2011#3First Round
#6 Loyola (MD)
#2 Northwestern
W, 15–7
W, 16–13
L, 10–11
2012#5First Round
#4 Syracuse
W, 14–7
L, 16–17
2013#3Second Round
Loyola (MD)
#2 Northwestern
#1 Maryland
W, 19–9
W, 13–9
W, 11–4
W, 13–12 (3ot)
2014#3Second Round
#6 Virginia
W, 10–8
L, 9–10
2015#2Second Round
Penn State
#3 Duke
#1 Maryland
W, 11–6
W, 11–8
W, 16–7
L, 8–9
2016#3Second Round
#6 Notre Dame
Penn State
#1 Maryland
W, 15–10
W, 10–6
W, 12–11
W, 13–7
2017#2Second Round
W, 23–12
L, 14–16
2018#2Second Round
Virginia Tech
#3 James Madison
W, 17–8
W, 19–14
L, 12–15

Coaching staff

Jenny Levy

  • The sixth-winningest coach in NCAA Division I women's lacrosse history and the fourth-winningest active coach in the nation, Levy has led the Tar Heels to seven appearances in the NCAA Tournament semifinals, including four in the last five years.[13]
  • An outstanding women's lacrosse player at the University of Virginia from 1988–92 and a field hockey assistant and a women's lacrosse assistant coach at Georgetown University from 1993–94, Levy was named as Carolina's first-ever head women's lacrosse coach in October 1994.[13]
  • A member of the UVa women's lacrosse team from 1988–1992 and was named the squad's captain and most valuable player as a senior. She led the Cavaliers to their first-ever Division I National Collegiate Women's Lacrosse Championship in 1991. She scored three goals in the championship game and five in the national semifinal game, leading to her selection as the tournament's Most Outstanding Attacker.[13]
  • A first-team All-America as a junior and senior, Levy was named the 1992 NCAA Attack Player-of-the-Year. She led Virginia in both goals and assists in 1992 with 52 and 13, respectively, and finished with career totals of 118 goals and 34 assists. In 2002, she was named one of the top 50 players in ACC history. In 2005, she was inducted into the Greater Baltimore Chapter of the Lacrosse Hall of Fame.[13]
  • She married Dan Levy of Baltimore, Md., in June 1998. Dan is a 1993 UNC graduate who played lacrosse at Carolina for four years, starring on the 1991 NCAA championship team.[7]
  • The couple has three children – Ryan (born in Jan. 2002), Alec (born in Sept. 2003) and Kathryn (born in July 2006)[13]

Phil Barnes

  • A fixture on Jenny Levy's staff for a decade, Phil Barnes is one of the nation's most experienced assistants and a key part of what Levy calls one of the best coaching staffs in America. In November 2012, the IWLCA named Barnes its assistant coach of the year.[6]
  • On the field, Barnes works with the Tar Heel defense and goalkeepers, while also heading up the program's recruiting efforts.[6]
  • He was the head coach at UMass for three seasons (2000–02), capturing the Atlantic 10 regular-season and tournament championships and leading the nation in scoring defense in 2000[6]
  • Barnes earned a B.A. in history from Assumption College in 1998. He is a native of Milford, N.H.[6]

Katrina Dowd

  • Katrina Dowd, one of the top players in women's lacrosse history, is in her second season as first assistant coach at North Carolina. She joined Jenny Levy's staff in the summer of 2012 after a season as an assistant at Syracuse. Her duties include recruiting and coaching the offense and draws.[7]
  • Dowd posted a stellar playing career at Northwestern, where she helped the Wildcats to three consecutive national championships from 2007–09. She also is a standout for the United States National Team, joining former Tar Heel players Kristen Carr, Amber Falcone, Jenn Russell and Laura Zimmerman on the 2012–14 U.S. women's national senior team.[7]
  • A native of Yorktown Heights, N.Y., Dowd was a two-time first-team IWLCA All-America at Northwestern (2009, 2010), winning three NCAA championships (2007, 2008, 2009).[7]
  • She led the '09 Wildcats to their fifth consecutive national title, scoring a team-high 75 goals and earning NCAA Tournament Most Valuable Player Award honors. She was the 2010 IWLCA Attacker of the Year and a Tewaaraton Award finalist, finishing the season with 110 points on 77 goals and 33 assists.[7]
  • In her career, Dowd compiled 209 goals and 58 assists for 267 total points in 88 games. She finished her career fourth in Northwestern history in goals, and in the Top 10 in assists, ground balls, caused turnovers and draw controls. Dowd finished her career as the all-time NCAA Tournament leader in goals (45) while ranking fourth in points (52).[7]
  • Dowd coached at Syracuse for the 2012 season, helping lead the Orange to the NCAA championship game for the first time in program history.[7]


  1. "Carolina Athletics Brand Identity Guidelines" (PDF). April 20, 2015. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  2. <n.d>”Women’s Div 1.” Active, Web. 22 March 2014.<>.
  3. <n.d>“UNC Women’s Lacrosse Record.” NeuLion, Inc. Web. 20 March 2014.< >.
  4. Cena, Alex. “Stories of the Year: No. 1: North Carolina Captures First Title.” Inside Lacrosse. Perform, 2 Jan. 2014. Web. 25 Mar. 2014. <>.
  5. Cena, Alex. “Stories of the Year: No. 1: North Carolina Captures First Title.” Inside Lacrosse. Perform, 2 Jan. 2014. Web. 25 Mar. 2014. <>
  6. <n.d> “UNC Women’s Coaching Staff: Phil Barnes.” NeuLion, Inc. Web. 22 March 2014. <>.
  7. <n.d> “UNC Women’s Coaching Staff: Katrina Dowd.” NeuLion, Inc. Web. 22 March 2014. <>.
  8. "UNC Media Guide 2017" (PDF). GoHeels. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
  9. "Q&A: UNC WOMEN’S LACROSSE COACH JENNY LEVY." Interview by Dave O'Sullivan. Glory Days Magazine 4 June 2013: n. pag. Web. 20 Mar. 2014. <>.
  10. National Semifinals <n.d>“UNC Women’s Lacrosse Record.” NeuLion, Inc. Web. 20 March 2014.< >.
  11. <n.d> “North Carolina All Americans By Year.” Active, Web. 22 March 2014. <>.
  12. "Division I Women's Lacrosse Championships Records Book" (PDF). NCAA. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  13. <n.d> “UNC Women’s Coaching Staff: Jenny Levy.” NeuLion, Inc. Web. 22 March 2014. <>.
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