DURHAM — Trailing No. 5 Duke by a goal with 1:39 remaining in Friday’s game, the North Carolina men’s lacrosse team saw its final chance.
The Tar Heels (6-5, 0-1 ACC) had dominated possession in the fourth quarter, but had only one goal to show for it.
After calling timeout, the final play ran through UNC’s leading scorer, Chris Cloutier, who received a pass with 30 seconds to play and wound up to shoot.
Cloutier’s 11th and final shot of the evening was blocked aside and never reached Duke’s goalie, and the Blue Devils (9-2, 1-1 ACC) cleared the ball one last time to escape with an 11-10 victory.
The loss extended UNC’s losing streak to five games — the Tar Heels’ longest since 2006.
UNC led for most of the game as the Tar Heels jumped out to 2-0 and 4-1 leads as they passed around Duke’s pressing defense.
“We were very prepared for that,” Cloutier said, "and we knew that we had to keep our composure. If they’re pressing out, we gotta take the advantages.”
Even after Duke tied the game before halftime, the Tar Heels’ offense managed to take advantage of holes in the Blue Devils’ defense. Timmy Kelly found himself wide open in front of the goal, giving UNC an 8-7 lead for his third goal of the day. Moments later, Cloutier finished a fantastic one-handed, overhead shot to extend the lead to 9-7 with just 22 seconds left in the third.
But Duke continued to push back, finding chances to get UNC out of the zone defense that head coach Joe Breschi switched the Tar Heels into mid-season.