After dropping two straight games against top-10 conference foes Duke and Virginia, the No. 5 North Carolina men’s lacrosse team looks ahead to a challenging ACC-packed schedule.
Before those losses, the Tar Heels began the season 8-0 and hadn’t lost a game since 2019.
Their offense has been fueled by a large veteran presence, with six fifth-year seniors due to COVID-19 redshirts. The daunting senior midfield trio of William Perry, Justin Anderson and Tanner Cook has combined for 55 goals this season.
“When you come to Carolina, you come to win a national championship,” Anderson said. “And we felt as though last year, that was taken away from us.”
UNC's experienced core has blended seamlessly with the new talent this season, namely with first-year goalkeeper Collin Krieg, who has earned ACC and national honors protecting UNC’s net.
In the first six nonconference games, UNC played its brand of lacrosse, keeping offense efficient and shutting out just about every opponent. In their third matchup against High Point in early April, the Tar Heels scored 27 goals — the most goals the team has put on the board in two decades.
The Tar Heels continued their impressive run into their first ACC matchup against Virginia, which they won, 16-13, thanks to Krieg notching a career-high 20 saves.
“It was very exciting, I mean, our first ACC game as a group, and for a lot of the guys on the team, the first ACC game in general,” Krieg said. “I think we were all just zoned in and fired up.”
Three weeks after the big win, the Tar Heels traveled down Tobacco Road to face their second ACC opponent of the year: No. 1-ranked Duke. The teams played loose and fast the first three quarters, with Duke answering every goal North Carolina scored.