The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday December 3rd

UNC men’s lacrosse to face UVa in ACC tournament semifinals

Two weeks ago, No. 9 North Carolina’s (9-4, 1-2 ACC) men’s lacrosse matchup against No. 4 Virginia (10-2, 2-1 ACC) was buzz-worthy on a national stage.

At the time, UNC was looking to dethrone its second consecutive No. 1-ranked opponent, while UVa. was faced with the task of defending its newly claimed top ranking.

UNC ACC

“We’re excited for the ACC tournament and to go up and play Virginia again. We feel like we really didn’t put our best foot forward last game,” coach Joe Breschi said.

UNC, the tournament’s No. 3 seed, rebounded from the UVa. loss with a 12-9 win against Hofstra.

The Cavaliers enter as the No. 2 seed after suffering a humiliating 13-5 loss to Duke last week.

But UVa.’s recent setback hasn’t altered the fundamental Tar Heel game plan.

“We just have to play physical and play tough for 60 minutes because we know that Virginia is a really good team,” junior attackman Marcus Holman said. “They’re coming off a pretty big loss and they’re going to be excited to play.”

After allowing 15 goals on 35 shots in the first matchup, the UNC defense is looking to get back to the basics to limit the Cavaliers’ looks.

“In the previous game we played I think we were a little confused by some of the stuff we were doing — and they definitely added to the confusion,” senior defenseman Charlie McComas said. “They’re a very talented offense and the way they move the ball is pretty impressive.

“I think one thing we decided is to simplify the defense and to get back to what we were doing at the beginning of the season — start playing our style.”

The Cavaliers boast senior Steele Stanwick, defending National Player of the Year. In the first meeting, Stanwick had three goals and four assists.

While UVa. may have the ace of all veterans, UNC holds talented rookies in spades.

Because of that, Holman believes Jimmy Bitter, Joey Sankey, Chad Tutton and the rest of the young guns have a clear advantage.

“It kind of works out because they’ve never been in this type of situation,” Holman said. “So they’re probably going to handle it like any other game and hopefully do the things they’ve been doing really well this entire season.”

In its past two ACC campaigns, UNC has gone home early after falling in the semifinals — a trend the Tar Heels would like to change.

“We’re trying to peak in April and May because our hopes are to win an ACC championship and to win the national championship,” Holman said.

Contact the Sports Editor at sports@dailytarheel.com.

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