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Monday December 5th

UNC men's lacrosse defeats Richmond 13-9 in its season debut

Graduate student attackman Chris Gray (4) runs with the ball at the lacrosse game agianst Richmond at Dorrance field on Feb. 11, 2022.
Buy Photos Graduate student attackman Chris Gray (4) runs with the ball at the lacrosse game agianst Richmond at Dorrance field on Feb. 11, 2022.

The No. 6 North Carolina men’s lacrosse team (1-0, 0-0 ACC) opened the season with a close win against Richmond (0-1) with a score of 13-9.

What happened?

The Tar Heels jumped out to an early lead over the Spiders, with a goal 30 seconds into the game by senior attackman Jacob Kelly and an assist from senior midfielder Henry Schertzinger. The duo continued to torch the Richmond defense early in the first quarter, opening the gap to a four goal lead halfway through the period. 

After a slow start to the game, Richmond was able to gain momentum after a few defensive stands against North Carolina. The Spiders were able to net two goals before the end of the quarter, including one with just 13 seconds left in the period.

Entering the second quarter, the Spiders were able to continue their unanswered goal streak and hold the Tar Heels to just a one goal lead with nine minutes left in the half. Twenty-six seconds later, graduate attackman Chris Gray responded for North Carolina with a goal to put the Tar Heels ahead by two. Even with a two-goal lead, the Spiders were able to gain some momentum similar to the end of the first quarter, and ended the half on a three-goal run to give North Carolina a 6-5 deficit and some adjustments going into the second half. After 30 minutes, the Tar Heels had outshot Richmond 25-14 with 12 shots on goal, but were lacking in two saves to Richmond’s seven and six face-offs to the Spiders’ seven.

The third quarter featured a back-and-forth battle amongst the two teams. Graduate midfielder Ryan O’Connell was able to open scoring for the period to tie up the score, but the Spiders continued to answer every Tar Heel goal. With the last five minutes in the quarter, North Carolina was able to find the spark they had lost since the beginning of the first period, scoring three quick goals including an unassisted shot by sophomore Cole Herbert with 4.4 seconds remaining on the clock. The Tar Heels entered the final quarter of the game with a 10-8 lead.

Pushing for a win to start the season and one quarter left to do it, North Carolina continued its unanswered goal streak to head an 11-8 lead over Richmond. As time began to run out for the Spiders, they let the Tar Heels know that the game was far from over, closing the lead to two goals with nine minutes left. After this goal, the Tar Heels tacked on two more to close out Richmond and win the game 13-9.

Who stood out? 

The entire offensive front for the Tar Heels proved why they’re touted as one of the top groups in the nation. Leading this front was Gray, who finished the game with a team-leading four goals and four assists to combine for eight points. Kelly closely followed with three goals and two assists to combine for five points.

When was it decided?

The match was decided when the Tar Heels extended the lead to four goals late in the fourth. Though Richmond fought to give North Carolina an upset to start their season, the Tar Heels were able to fend off the Spiders in the second half outscoring them 8-3.

Why does it matter?

North Carolina looks to make a championship run in the 2022 season after narrowly falling short in the final four of last year’s tournament, and a win against a tough Richmond team will help begin that run. After a strong offensive game, there are many questions that need to be answered for the Tar Heels including on face-offs and defensive play with almost a month left until conference play.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels host the Colgate Raiders on Sunday, Feb. 13 at 11 a.m. on Dorrance Field.

@igbryant619

@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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