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Friday August 12th

No. 4 UNC men's lacrosse blown out 20-8 at home against unranked Ohio State

UNC junior attackman Lance Tillman (0) looks for an open run during a home men's lacrosse game against Ohio State on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022. UNC lost 20-8.
Buy Photos UNC junior attackman Lance Tillman (0) looks for an open run during a home men's lacrosse game against Ohio State on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022. UNC lost 20-8.

The No. 4 North Carolina men’s lacrosse team (2-1, 0-0 ACC) suffered its first double-digit loss since 2008 at the hands of unranked Ohio State (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten) 20-8 in their third game of the season. 

What happened?

In a tightly-contested first half, the Tar Heels got off to a hot start and quick lead, as graduate attackman Chris Gray scored an unassisted goal in the first minute of the first quarter. Ohio State, however, had an answer, as Buckeye attackman Jackson Reid scored off an assist just over two minutes after Gray’s goal. 

Sophomore goalie Collin Krieg made three saves after the Buckeyes’ first goal, which helped UNC take the lead when senior attackman Nicky Solomon scored late in the first quarter off an assist from Gray to give UNC a 2-1 lead. But Ohio State scored just before the end of the first quarter, knotting the score up at two apiece heading into the second quarter. 

UNC and Ohio State exchanged scores the first five minutes of the second quarter, as Solomon answered the Buckeyes’ early goal by scoring his second goal of the game off an assist from senior midfielder Harrison Schertzinger to tie the game at 3-3. 

With five minutes remaining, Ohio State went on a run, scoring two goals within a minute and outscoring the Tar Heels 3-1 at one point during that stretch to take a 6-4 lead. UNC trimmed Ohio State’s lead to 6-5 with just 4.7 seconds left in the quarter, thanks to a goal from senior attackman Jacob Kelly. 

Ohio State started the second half on a 3-0 run, extending its lead to 9-5 within the first six and a half minutes of play. UNC then woke up on offense, as Schertzinger and Gray each scored goals. 

But the Buckeyes answered both Schertzinger and Gray’s goals and maintained a four-point lead. Ohio State closed the third quarter out on a 4-0 run to add to take a 14-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter. 

UNC allowed the Buckeyes to score another three unanswered goals within the first five minutes of the fourth quarter. Kelly broke the Buckeyes’ scoring streak after connecting on his second goal of the season off an assist from Gray, but the Buckeyes followed his goal up by going on a 3-0 run and handing UNC its first loss of the season, 20-8. 

Who stood out?

Chris Gray followed up strong performances with four and three goals against Richmond and Colgate, respectively, by scoring a team-high three goals against the Buckeyes. And although Gray is usually on the scoring side, he added four assists to his stat line.  

When was it decided?

The Tar Heels’ tilt with the Buckeyes was close throughout the first half, but giving up eight points in the third quarter while only scoring two effectively put the game out of reach for UNC. 

Why does it matter?

On top of losing their undefeated record and a drop in the rankings likely pending, this loss matters because it’s an early indicator that they need to improve before facing other ranked non-conference opponents such as No. 15 Johns Hopkins and No. 11 Denver.  

This game also highlights some areas the Tar Heels need to improve, such as face-offs, defense and more involvement on offense. 

In the game’s 31 face-offs, UNC won just nine compared to Ohio State, which won 22 of the face-offs. This didn’t help the defense, which had to play disproportionately more than the offense and needed to force turnovers to compensate for an inability to gain possession in face-offs. 

A lack of offensive production outside of Gray, who accounted for seven of the Tar Heels’ eight goals, compounded the Tar Heels struggles. 

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels look to rebound from their loss to Ohio State as they play host to Brown on Wednesday, Feb. 23 at 1 p.m.

@dthsports | sportsdailytarheel.com

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