“Everyone’s pretty devastated right now,” said midfielder Peyton Klawinski on Saturday after the loss. “We thought we had the game in our hands all the way up until the end.”
In a back-and-forth game of mini-runs, UNC simply found itself on the wrong end of the final run of the game. The Tar Heels know they let one slip away.
“We had a good lead late in the game,” Coach Joe Breschi said. “We just shouldn’t have given them the opportunity to make the play and get the call. That should have never happened.”
But in the wake of an untimely call, UNC is making no excuses, focusing instead on ensuring that it finishes games in the future.
“Things like that are always going to happen,” sophomore attackman Luke Goldstock said. “But we just have to stay mentally focused and play a full 60 minutes, not 58.”
Two days later, the Tar Heels have already put this game behind them, and they are looking forward with a new fire to the postseason.
After a classic showdown on Fetzer Field against Syracuse on April 11, UNC will need to stay motivated in hopes of repeating its success against the same adversary in the first round of the ACC Tournament on Friday.
“Any time you take one on the chin, you have all the more reason to prepare and work harder into the next week,” Breschi said.
As UNC looks ahead to the postseason, the thought is the team will likely go as far as its upperclassmen take it.
With 13 of their 18 juniors and seniors involved in Saturday’s game, the Tar Heels will continue to rely on the poise and maturity of their older players.
And with another leader, Steve Pontrello, likely to return from injury next week, a No. 2 national ranking and only two blemishes on its record, UNC looks like a heavyweight contender in the run for the national championship.
This time, the Tar Heels hope to be the ones making the final run.