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No. 10 UNC men's lacrosse uses 3-0 run to seal 14-11 home win over Brown Bears

UNC senior attackman Jacob Kelly (9) looks to cross the ball during a men's lacrosse game at Dorrance Stadium on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022. UNC won 14-11.

The No.10 North Carolina men’s lacrosse team (3-1, 0-0 ACC) accomplished their its win of the season against Brown (1-1, 0-0 Ivy League) at home. 

What happened?

The No.10 Tar Heels got off to a speedy start in the first quarter, scoring three goals in the first five minutes. The Bears responded with a quick goal with seven minutes left in the quarter. From there, the Bears slowly closed in on the Tar Heel lead ending the quarter with a tied score of 4-4. 

Graduate attackman Chris Gray scored within the first minute of the second period — however, both teams were trading scoring throughout the entirety of the quarter. They continued to fight for dominance with junior Matt Wright answering a goal from Brown's Darian Cook. Senior attackman Jacob Kelly advanced the score 7-6 but was unable to sustain the lead due to Colby Gendron’s goal. 

Going into the third quarter, the Tar Heels continued to push for a solid lead against the Bears, but were met with aggression on the Brown offensive side. Their aggressiveness did not couple well with North Carolina’s poor defense despite sophomore goalkeeper Collin Krieg's 17 saves.  

The fourth quarter was characterized by both teams trying to extend a lead, but Brown’s quick offense made that difficult, with Devon McLane and Topher Bligh making shots 21 seconds apart from each other. 

UNC responded to this with a 3-0 run, ending the game 14-11 in its third win of the season.

Who stood out?

Kelly had a strong offensive performance in today’s game, finishing with five assists and three goals. His stat line in previous games shows consistency of play, scoring two goals in previous games against both Ohio State and Colgate. Gray also played well, scoring two goals while registering three assists of his own.

Sophomore midfielder Cole Herbert also had an extraordinary game, scoring four goals on 4-4 shooting, surpassing his career-high goals while matching his career-high shots.

When was it decided?

The Tar Heels were able to hold onto their lead into the fourth quarter until Brown made two quick shots in a row. 

For six minutes, the game was at a stagnant 11-11. With less than five minutes left, however, the game changed. 

North Carolina responded to Brown with quick shots of their own, both of which were scored by  Herbert and assisted by Kelly. The game was finalized after Herbert’s final goal, and the Bears were left powerless to achieve another goal. 

Why does it matter?

After a painful loss to an unranked Ohio State last Saturday, the Tar Heels must play a more focused game for their next two scheduled matches against ranked non-conference teams including No. 13 Johns Hopkins and No. 14 Denver. In an effort to not drop any lower in the rankings, these next two games are must-wins before they transition into ACC play.

The team did well possession-wise, winning 21 of the game's 28 total face-offs while also outshooting Brown, 48-38.

Despite today’s win, the team has a lot of work to do defensively, from giving up several unnecessary points to giving up 21 turnovers by the end of the game compared to the Bears' 16.

When do they play next? 

The team is back at Dorrance Field this Sunday, Feb. 27 as it hosts No. 13 Johns Hopkins at 2 p.m.


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