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Chris Cloutier breaks consecutive goal record in UNC's 11-7 loss to Maryland

Chris Cloutier cradle

North Carolina senior attackman Chris Cloutier (45) is checked by a Denver defenseman on March 5 at Kenan Stadium.

The No. 20 North Carolina men’s lacrosse team fell to the No. 2 Maryland Terrapins, 11-7, on Saturday in Costa Mesa, Calif., for its fourth consecutive loss.

What happened?

The Tar Heels (6-4) were dominated by the Terrapins (7-1) for majority of the game — going into halftime with a 5-2 deficit and starting the fourth quarter in a 9-4 hole. UNC rallied and made a comeback effort in the final 15 minutes, but it was too little, too late. 

Maryland scored eight of the game’s first 10 goals. The only North Carolina players that put points on the board until the midway point of the third quarter were first-year midfielder Ryan O'Connell and senior attackman Matt Cunningham. 

The Tar Heels then went on to score the next two goals. Sophomore midfielder William Perry scored at the 6:39 mark of the third quarter on an assist from junior attackman Andy Matthews. Then, senior attackman Chris Cloutier scored with 5:33 remaining in the third quarter. 

Cloutier’s goal came off of an assist from junior attackman Timmy Kelly and marked the 30th consecutive game in which he has scored — a new school record. 

Maryland then scored a goal of its own in the last four minutes of the frame to take a five-point lead into the final quarter. 

North Carolina mounted a comeback and began cutting into the deficit — scoring three straight goals to start the fourth quarter. Matthews connected with Perry again, assisting the sophomore for another goal with 12:42 remaining in the contest. Less than two minutes later, Perry found Kelly, who scored his first goal of the game. 

With 5:12 left in the contest, Cloutier found the back of the net again, cutting the Tar Heels’ deficit to two. However, the Terrapins scored two goals in the last five minutes to seal the deal.  

“I told the guys last night, as well, ‘We’re capable of playing with anybody in the country,’” head coach Joe Breschi said. “We’ve just got to put it all together.”

Who stood out?

Perry did a little bit of everything for UNC; he scored twice and had one assist. Cloutier also scored twice for North Carolina, and this game was the 30th straight he has scored at least one goal in. 

The Ontario native’s streak broke the previous school record of 29 consecutive games with a goal, which was previously held by Marcus Holman during the 2012-13 season.

When was it decided?

When UNC scored the first three goals of the fourth quarter, the game — which looked like it was going to be blowout — became competitive again. 

The Tar Heels trailed by two goals with about five minutes to play. But the game was all but over when UMD scored and extended its lead to three with 4:26 left. 

Why does it matter?

This game marks four straight losses for UNC, which started the season 6-0. Now the Tar Heels must find their footing fast, as they head into ACC play.

“No matter if you’re 10-0 or 0-10 in the first 10 games, your goal is to win the ACC championship,” Breschi said. “Now [with the start off ACC play], we start a new season.” 

When do they play next?

North Carolina will take the field again on Friday as they play its archrival Duke in Durham. 

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