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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC men's lacrosse loses second straight heartbreaker

For the second week in a row, the North Carolina men’s lacrosse team lost in heartbreaking fashion.

After suffering an overtime defeat to top-ranked Syracuse on senior day last weekend, No. 16 UNC fell at No. 6 Notre Dame, 14-13, after leading by as many as two goals in the final period.

“I thought we played hard, but we weren’t able to make a stop when we needed to ...” head coach Joe Breschi said. “You’ve got to be able to make plays at the end to win games like that.”

The game was a rapid affair from the opening whistle, with both teams trading goals in the first two periods. The Fighting Irish (7-3, 2-2 ACC) built a 7-5 halftime lead thanks to a 3-0 run in the second quarter.

Junior attacker Chris Cloutier scored three of his season-high four goals in the second half, and his final goal capped a 4-0 run that gave the Tar Heels (6-7, 1-3 ACC) a 12-10 lead with 10:20 to play.

Just as it appeared that North Carolina was in control of the game, successive penalties swung the momentum back in Notre Dame’s advantage.

The man-up advantage and a pushing penalty by UNC sparked a three-goal run for the Fighting Irish with 10:01 left in the game. Notre Dame wouldn’t trail again.

“That kind of shifted the momentum a little bit,” Breschi said. “We weren’t able to stop them, get a big play or a big save.”

First-year midfielder William Perry tied the game at 13 with a goal with 5:56 left in the fourth quarter, but Notre Dame’s Bryan Costabile scored three minutes later to seal his team’s 14-13 victory.

The Tar Heels’ offense struggled when it was needed most. The attack looked discombobulated in the final six minutes of the game and registered only seven shots in the final quarter of play.

“We need to attack the net even until the very end rather than trying to take our time,” Cloutier said. “We need to keep our foot on the pedal the entire 60 minutes of the game on the offensive end.”

With the regular season over, North Carolina can now turn its attention to the ACC tournament. UNC will face top-seeded Syracuse in Durham on Friday.

“They got us the first time, but hopefully we get them the second time," redshirt junior goalkeeper Brian Balkam said. "That has to be the mentality."

If the Tar Heels wants to keep their hopes of playing in the NCAA tournament alive, they will have to run the table in the tournament.

“The way we have to look at it is it's a new season and nothing else really matters at all ...” Balkam said. “We have to win to get in. We all know that and understand that and I think we’re all prepared for that.”


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