Inconsistency was the story for last year’s North Carolina men’s lacrosse team.
After a 6-7 regular season, the Tar Heels were able to catch fire, win the ACC Tournament and qualify for the NCAA Tournament. This success was short lived, however, as the team was eliminated in the first round of the tournament after losing to Albany, 15-12, which ended its chances of a second straight NCAA title after a 2016 win.
The No. 9 Tar Heels will kick off their 2018 campaign on Saturday at noon, when they host Lafayette in Kenan Memorial Stadium, the first game of a three-game home stand. UNC has 19 consecutive season opening wins, and the team will look to keep that streak alive on Saturday, even in a different location.
North Carolina is returning multiple starters from last season, but none of them may be quite as important as senior attackman Chris Cloutier. The senior is entering the 2018 season on a 20-game scoring streak, spanning two seasons in which he has amounted 55 goals. In addition to his scoring streak, Cloutier currently sits at 80 goals for his entire career. With a productive senior season, he'll almost definitely break the 100 mark for his career.
While Cloutier will certainly be the focal point of UNC’s attack, he is not the only notable returning player. Both Cloutier and junior Jack Rowlett were elected to the preseason All-ACC team, and they are both entering their third season as starters.