Ryan Flanagan picked a good time to be lucky.
In North Carolina’s 10-8 win against Navy at Fetzer Field on Friday, Flanagan scored two goals to propel the Tar Heels to victory.
While Flanagan was a first-team preseason All American, he is a defender, known for keeping opposing goals off the board, not chipping in goals of his own.
“I wouldn’t say I’m the most accurate shooter, so I would say it was luck more than anything,” Flanagan said.
After the game Flanagan said he thought his chances of scoring twice in the same game were “slim to none.”
“I don’t think I had two goals in my career,” Flanagan said. “That wasn’t in the game plan at all, but the opportunity presented itself, and I got lucky and hit the shots.”
He was absolutely correct — he only had one goal in his college career, coming in a 12-3 rout of Marist his freshman year.
“Him and Michael Burns really stepped up, the senior class, and they made plays,” head coach Joe Breschi said. “That’s what we expect from our leadership.
In a game that featured eight scorers for UNC’s 10 goals, Flanagan’s two tied for the team lead with Billy Bitter — North Carolina’s other preseason first team All American.
“We had a lot (of balance,)” Bitter said. “Everyone was contributing. The freshman Pat Foster, during the week he promised us he would score a goal, and that was really a turning point in the game.”
Foster’s goal gave the Tar Heels a 9-8 lead and deflated the Midshipmen. Foster came onto the field for the first time in his career, and 34 seconds later, he scored his first goal on a rocket from 12 yards out.
In the beginning, Navy looked as if it might sneak away with this game, as it started off with a 4-1 lead. A significant portion of this lead came from a Navy play where one attacker would circle around the cage, and then throw the ball directly over the cage to a teammate who would quickly shoot it from right in front of the net.
“We knew going into the game that they would try to get it through behind the net and push the back side,” Flanagan said. “They got it a couple times early in the game and we knew that we were going to press there and make it more difficult to move,”
In the second half, UNC didn’t allow that play, or many others for that matter, to work. The defense gave up three points in the second half, and held the Midshipmen scoreless in the fourth quarter to give the Tar Heels the win.
“The defense played great,” Breschi said. “We were due to play better. In the second half they were outstanding.”
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