When the No. 8 North Carolina lacrosse team rallied from a halftime deficit on Feb. 25 against Navy, it was the first time the Tar Heels had done so since 2009.
That time, UNC didn’t have any recent experience to draw upon. But Saturday, when the Tar Heels trailed Hofstra by two goals in the fourth quarter, they knew exactly what to do.
UNC (9-4, 1-2 ACC) closed the game on a 5-0 run to take a 12-9 victory against the Pride (6-6) at the ESPNU Warrior Classic in Charlotte.
“We didn’t push the panic button. We tried to stay calm and we knew that we wanted to continue to focus on picking up groundballs and winning faceoffs and continuing to put shots on cage,” junior attackman Marcus Holman said. “We knew (shots) were going to fall eventually. We hit a few pipes in the first half, and we were lucky enough to have them go in in the second half.”
Holman was at the forefront of the barrage on the Hofstra goal. He had a career-high five goals to go along with two assists in the come-from-behind win. Fellow attackman Jimmy Bitter also delivered a career day with four goals and three assists.
“Guys were just creating opportunities, and I have the easy part, and that’s just finishing off when we move the ball,” Holman said. “So I just tried to put shots on goal and was lucky enough to have five of them go in.”
UNC outshot Hofstra 41-to-28, including a 13-to-5 advantage in the final quarter.
A 37-to-22 edge in groundballs, along with UNC’s 14-of-24 faceoff wins, generated more chances for UNC on the offensive end.
Because of the Tar Heels’ success in those categories, they knew Hofstra’s late lead was capable of being overcome.
“Anytime you have a great faceoff guy like R.G. Keenan, you can count on getting offensive possessions,” Holman said. “We weren’t really panicked, we knew we had to keep putting pressure on the goalie and try to get our shots on goal.”
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