Sometimes, you don’t even have to be at the game to know the why a team lost. All you have to do is look at the box score.
For the North Carolina men’s lacrosse team, the 12-8 loss against Duke was one of those games. In the second half, the Tar Heels lost nine of 10 faceoffs, which lead to UNC collecting four ground balls to the Blue Devils’ 14, and the Blue Devils outshooting them 26-9 down the stretch as they pulled away for the win.
“When you don’t have the ball, you can’t score,” head coach Joe Breschi said. “The stats of the second half are pretty clear.”
Senior midfielder Stephen “Bones” Kelly struggled in the X for the Tar Heels (5-5, 0-1 ACC), as Blue Devil midfielder Kyle Rowe heated up and won faceoff after faceoff for Duke (8-3, 1-0 ACC). UNC entered the second half with a 7-5 lead, but a 3-1 advantage off the faceoff in the third quarter gave the Blue Devils the two goals they needed to tie the game, before UNC snuck one back just before the horn to make it 8-7 going into the final frame.
The fourth quarter was where it all went really wrong for the Tar Heels. Duke scored two goals in under a minute after dominating possession for the first four minutes of the half. Junior goalie Brain Balkham made some point blank saves, but the Blue Devils’ relentless pressure opened up space in the middle, leading to a 9-8 lead.