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No. 2 UNC men's lacrosse falls on the road to No. 1 Duke in overtime

Sophomore defenseman Matt Wright (20) tries block a High Point opponent. UNC wins against High Point 27-12 at Kenan Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021.

The No. 2 North Carolina men’s lacrosse team played a barnburner against the No. 1 Duke Blue Devils on Thursday and fell in overtime, 12-11.

What happened?

On Thursday, the Tar Heels travelled nine miles to face their crosstown rivals for the first time this season.

Game play started off hot in Koskinen Stadium with an overhead shot by sophomore Matt Wright early in the first giving North Carolina a 1-0 lead. About nine minutes later, Duke answered the point to tie the score, and then found itself down again as junior Nicky Solomon powered the ball in off an assist from senior Chris Gray. 

With the game clock ticking down to three seconds left in the period, Duke nets another ball, making it even 2-2.

In the second period, Solomon wasted no time getting UNC back on top, scoring a goal off the faceoff eight seconds in. North Carolina’s second goal of the period was rocketed in by junior Jacob Kelly a couple of minutes later. 

The teams battled the rest of the period out, Duke going up two, UNC responding with two more and the Blue Devils finishing off with a goal in the final three minutes to keep up with UNC, who finished with a 6-5 at the half.

The third period saw North Carolina’s biggest lead, with seniors Justin Anderson and Tanner Cook posting up early goals to bring Duke’s deficit to three. 

The Blue Devils did not relent, and put pressure on UNC’s defense and goalkeeper Collin Krieg. Though Krieg had three saves in the period, he let six goals slip through, giving Duke its first lead to close out the third 11-10.

Both teams buckled down and held up their matchups on defense in the fourth, but couldn’t pick up enough speed to make accurate shots. UNC struggled to get out on the perimeter, remaining stagnant on offense until Justin Anderson’s shot with just under three minutes left tied the score.

The teams then went into sudden victory overtime. With 47 seconds left in the four minute period, Duke snuck a goal past Krieg to take the win, 12-11.

Who stood out? 

Although the score was not as high as UNC has earned in the past, Solomon, Anderson and Gray all had solid offensive performances, all three contributing two goals and one assist each.

Krieg was a strong force in the goal against one of the best shooting teams in the country, making a total of 14 saves.

When was it decided?

North Carolina had the edge almost the entire game, notching up the score every time the Blue Devils attempted to catch up. However, overtime saw the Tar Heels defending their own cage for the majority of the four minute period. Duke fired six shots compared to UNC’s two, and the last one by Blue Devil Joe Robertson just slipped past Krieg’s helmet for the win.

Why does it matter?

As the top two teams in the nation, Thursday's. Then when you throw in rivalry between the schools, the competition gets even more stiff. Of their past 10 faceoffs, only one game has been finished outside of the margin of three goals.

As the top two teams in the nation, Thursday's bout was set up to be a heavyweight matchup. Then when you throw in rivalry between the schools, the competition gets even more stiff. Of their past 10 games, only one has finished with a final score outside of the margin of three goals.

This game was the first overtime either team has experienced this season, and the Tar Heels’ loss shattered their perfect record. As UNC is now 8-1 for the season, Duke’s undefeated season was bolstered 10-0.

The Tar Heels will look to avenge their loss in May when they will host the Blue Devils for their last conference game of the season.

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When do they play next?

North Carolina is slated to play Virginia at home on Saturday, April 10 at 2 p.m..

@DTHSports |