Current Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2014 01:55:33 -0400
After a March 13 loss to Duke, the North Carolina men’s lacrosse team’s record stood at 3-3 with seven games remaining.
The Tar Heels bounced back from that middle-of-the-road start, winning seven straight, including Saturday’s 20-8 rout of first-year program High Point on Senior Day.
All seven active seniors saw playing time in their last game on Fetzer Field.
“For a lot of us, we’re not going to play lacrosse after this in the pros or anything, so it was definitely a pretty emotional day,” said senior defenseman Kieran McDonald.
Fifteen players scored for UNC in the team’s third 20-goal outburst in the last 12 years, and 35 different Tar Heels got playing time.
“It speaks to the talent we have on this team, the depth we have,” senior Marcus Holman said. “When guys got their number called they were ready to come in and make plays.”
One particular goal stood out, though — Holman scored in a school-record 28th consecutive game.
Fellow seniors Davey Emala, Stevie Kirkup, Stephen Burns, William Scroggs and McDonald all joined Holman in the starting lineup.
Burns doubled his career total with two assists in the game.
Senior Sean Taylor scored his third career goal in his final game at Fetzer Field.
Holman said the senior scout team players have been the driving force behind the program’s success during the past four years.
“They’re team-first guys. That’s what we want around here at Carolina. We want guys who put the team before themselves, and they’ve certainly done that for four years here,” Holman said. “It was awesome to see them out here running around, getting ground balls and scoring a couple of goals.”
The class of 2013 has propelled UNC to the 16-team NCAA Tournament field for the past three seasons, and the Tar Heels have finished in the top 10 of the final Division I rankings all three years.
UNC now turns its attention to Friday night, when the No. 2-seed Tar Heels will take on No. 3-seed Duke in the ACC semifinals.
Holman said the team will focus on keeping its routine the same to extend its winning streak.
“We don’t want to change anything, per se, for this week against Duke,” Holman said. “We just want to continue what we’ve been doing for the past four or five weeks because we’re riding this win streak out.”
Holman, with 116 career goals, is 12 shy of tying UNC’s all-time leader in goals, and it will be up to him to keep the Tar Heels in postseason contention long enough to break the record.
“He’s one of the best all-time players in Carolina history,” coach Joe Breschi said. “I know he doesn’t want his career to end right now, so we’ve got a lot in front of us.”
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