The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday December 3rd

Duke tops Tar Heels in heated game

Despite a second half push, the UNC-Chapel Hill men's lacrosse team lost to Duke University 13-11 on Friday March 16.
Buy Photos Despite a second half push, the UNC-Chapel Hill men's lacrosse team lost to Duke University 13-11 on Friday March 16.

Late in the third quarter of North Carolina’s lacrosse game at Duke, Marcus Holman delivered a crushing check to a Blue Devil defender.

Duke’s Ben Belmont then hit Holman after the whistle, causing three Tar Heels to flock toward the action just outside of Duke’s defensive third. As more Blue Devils rushed to the scene, the two teams exchanged shoves and subtle jabs until the referees pried the rivals apart.

It was that type of fire that was needed to claim victory in Friday’s match. The Blue Devils played with it from the opening faceoff, but North Carolina didn’t bring it until heading into halftime already trailing 9-3.

“We came out in the first half and didn’t play very hard,” Holman said. “To be honest, we played soft.

The Blue Devils hit UNC in the mouth from the beginning. Duke’s Jake Tripucka and Christian Walsh attacked a Tar Heel defense that wasn’t playing aggressively, and each netted two first-quarter goals to start the game on a 4-0 run.

But UNC’s first-half woes didn’t rest just with the defense. It was a full-team effort — or lack thereof.

In the first half, Duke doubled the amount of ground balls the Tar Heels fielded, had a third of the turnovers and won the faceoff battle 10-14. The Blue Devils flew across the field, consistently catching UNC a step slow.

“That was on us the way we played in the first half,” freshman Joey Sankey said. “We didn’t play 100 percent, maybe it was, like, 90 or 95.”

When UNC made a run in the second half to pull within two, the Tar Heels’ play was noticeably more spirited. But following such an uninspired start, the hole was too big to climb out of.

Coach Joe Breschi called the first half disappointing, noting North Carolina’s slow start and how Duke came out stronger.

Following the game, Holman stood listless outside the locker room while he struggled to describe what happened. He said he knew that UNC didn’t compete at the level an ACC game requires.

“As a captain, I have to get the team ready to play,” Holman said. “It’s disappointing. I don’t know. It’s just disappointing. I wish we came out harder like we did in the second half.”

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