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Fourth-quarter run gives Virginia nail-biting win over North Carolina men's lacrosse

UNC first-year midfielder Zachary Tucci (35) goes for the ball Saturday, March 30, 2019 in the game against Duke at the UNC Lacrosse Stadium.
Buy Photos UNC first-year midfielder Zachary Tucci (35) goes for the ball Saturday, March 30, 2019 in the game against Duke at the UNC Lacrosse Stadium.

The No. 19 North Carolina men’s lacrosse team (7-4, 1-1 ACC) came up short in a nail-biter on Saturday against fourth-ranked Virginia, losing 11-10.

What happened?

After a 10-8 win against Duke last Saturday, UNC traveled north to face Virginia (9-2, 3-0 ACC). The Tar Heels and Cavaliers were locked in a close battle throughout the entirety of the game. 

But in an evenly matched competition, one team had to lose; today it was UNC.

Virginia scored first just over two minutes into the game. North Carolina quickly found its footing, scoring two back-to-back goals in the first quarter, taking a 2-1 lead. The Tar Heels kept their advantage through the rest of the first half, going into the third quarter up 5-3, led by first-year attackman Nicky Solomon with three of those first-half goals.

But at the end of the third quarter, the Cavaliers took the lead with their own offensive push which changed the nature of the game. From there on out, UNC and UVA were neck and neck. Both teams played an extremely intense fourth quarter, and the scoring was back and forth.

Three consecutive scores by Virginia in the fourth quarter took the team from down two to a lead. That run was crucial for the momentum of the game and helped the Cavaliers eventually seal the victory.

The Tar Heels and Cavaliers traded goals down to the final minutes, but Virginia held on and edged out UNC 11-10. A late-game goal by Dox Aitken gave the Cavaliers the victory.

Who stood out?

Solomon had a hot first half, helping to give UNC an early lead with three goals.  

But UNC head coach Joe Breschi said today’s game was truly about the team effort.  Breschi noted the team’s sound defense throughout the game. 

“I’m really proud of our guys,” he said.

When was it decided?

The game was tied 10-10 with just over six minutes left and remained so until only 1:34 left on the clock when UVA scored the final goal.  

“They scored with three seconds left on the shot clock with a minute and 30 to go…” Breschi said.  “We had an opportunity to tie it and man up and we didn’t.”

Why does it matter?

The Tar Heels were unable to extend their win streak on the road, and now have a 1-1 record for conference play.  However, a promising opportunity to improve this standing awaits against Syracuse next week.

“I still think we’re obviously capable of beating anyone,” Breschi said. “We just gotta continue to get smarter down the stretch and avoid some of those simple mistakes.”

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels are back in Chapel Hill on Saturday, April 13 to face No. 11 Syracuse at 3 p.m.


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