CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - That's the motto for the University of North Carolina women's lacrosse team as it begins the 2023 campaign Saturday, Feb. 11, in Chapel Hill. Prior to playing James Madison in their season opener, the Tar Heels will host the only two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in Division I: Delaware State and Howard.
Delaware State and Howard will play the first game of the doubleheader at 11 a.m. ET before North Carolina battles James Madison with a 2 p.m. start time. Both games will be played at Dorrance Field and streamed on ACCNX, and admission will be free and open to the public.
"This is definitely a big game for us, and opening our season with this event makes it even more exciting," said Howard head coach Karen Healy-Silcott. "Putting our game on a big stage where we can get more exposure is important, and there's a lot of people in the community that are really excited to see us play."
Prior to Saturday's games, the Tar Heels, Hornets and Bison will partake in a joint dinner and panel discussion Friday evening to strengthen the bond between the programs and student-athletes.
"It's a great way to start the year on such a positive note and being surrounded not only by positivity, but support," said Pamella Jenkins, head coach at Delaware State. "It means a lot to us because it shows the community the importance of being inclusive and promoting diversity within the sport of lacrosse."
There are five active varsity lacrosse programs at HBCU institutions – and only three for women – while Howard and Delaware State are the sole members in Division I. As HBCU lacrosse programs continue to gain momentum, North Carolina is proud to partner with two high-level teams and share its platform to grow the game.
"For us, the game against Howard has always been a big deal," continued Jenkins. "I'm excited that we're playing this game in an area where we can attract more people that typically wouldn't get to see us play. This is a big deal for us to have this kind of support, and it really means a lot."
Collaboration between campus organizations and the UNC athletics department surrounding the doubleheader is ongoing as excitement continues to build within the community. In what is shaping up to be a special weekend for women's lacrosse, the goal is to have similar events continue in the future.
In honor of the season kickoff and HBCU celebration, free Dunkin' Donuts will be available for the first game while Crumbl Cookies will be provided for both contests. Additionally, commemorative 2022 National Champion pennants will be given to the first 450 fans in attendance.