North Carolina senior Brittney Coppa will miss this season after tearing the ACL in her left knee during a scrimmage against the U.S. national team in Florida Jan. 26. The North Carroll graduate plans to have surgery in a couple weeks, Tar Heels coach Jenny Levy said, but hasn’t decided whether she will redshirt.
A third-team All-American, Coppa was expected to be a key component in an otherwise young midfield that has to replace Tewaaraton Award finalist Kara Cannizzaro and Emily Garrity. Last season, Coppa was fourth in scoring for the national champions and assisted on the game winner in the 13-12 triple over time victory over Maryland in the title game.
Levy said, “all things point to redshirting,” but especially because she’s a senior, Coppa will need time to decide whether to stay around for a fifth year.
“I feel like when you’re a senior, it’s a huge emotional ding,” Levy said. “When you do it when you’re younger, it’s like, ’Oh yeah, I’m going to redshirt,’ but in my senior year I got hurt right before the season and I thought I was going to have to redshirt. Emotionally for me, I was like, 'I love college; I love playing,’ but I wasn’t ready for that information. I just don’t want to rush her into anything.”
Coppa, a preseason first-team All-America selection by Inside Lacrosse, was a third-year starter in the No. 1 Tar Heels midfield who scored 36 goals and had five assists last season. She had three goals in the national championship game as well as the assist and five draw controls.
Levy had expected big things from Coppa, who was a three-time All-Carroll County player at North Carroll.
"It just makes us really young in the middle of the field (withouth Coppa)," Levy said. "She was playing so well and was ready for a big senior year where she wasn't necessarily a role-playing kid anymore. She was ready to step up and kind of take the reins where Kara and Emily had left off."