The No. 6 North Carolina men’s lacrosse team might be feeling a little bit of deja vu heading into its game against top-ranked Maryland in Kenan Stadium this Saturday.
The team found itself in a nearly identical situation last year.
Facing the top-ranked Terrapins, questions surrounded the direction the Tar Heels’ season was headed. This game would either be a phenomenal addition to UNC’s tournament resume or a detrimental loss in the toughest conference in the nation.
But the Tar Heels won that game a year ago — and didn’t lose again after that until the NCAA Tournament.
It was the turning point of their season.
“Last year, we were in a pickle,” coach Joe Breschi said. “We had three losses so you’re either coming out of there .500 or with a nice win under your belt."
And this season with the addition of Notre Dame and Syracuse to the ACC and a new tournament format, a loss would be more injurious to UNC’s title chances than it may have been in the past.
Despite having six teams, the ACC is still only having four teams play in its tournament at the end of the season. While the two teams with the worst conference records will get a chance to play a consolation game against each other, they will not get a chance at the ACC title.