The 1997 Tar Heels opened with a five-game winning streak, shutting out their opponents in the final three games. A pair of losses stopped the run, but Carolina responded with another five-game run, outscoring opponents 33-4 before a second loss to UVa that season moved UNC to 10-3. Another run of five straight wins closed out the regular season, and in the ACC tournament, UNC defeated Maryland in overtime before beating UVa in the final. The top seed in the NCAA tournament, Carolina completed the hat trick of championships, winning the title by defeating Old Dominion for the second time in the campaign. Despite losing as many games that season as the previous three years combined (3), the Tar Heels went 3-0 in the tournament behind Tiki Barber, ACC Player of the Year and Honda honoree Cindy Werley, and Jana Withrow in their senior seasons. All-Americans Joy Driscoll and Nancy Pelligreen added depth to the squad. Along the way, UNC broke its own record in scoring, averaging just over 4.17 goals per game led by Werley’s program-record 36 goals—a record that still stands.
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