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The Daily Tar Heel

No. 7 UNC men's lacrosse looks to improve after mistake-laden loss to No. 2 Virginia

M. Crumpler-140.jpg
Senior midfielder Henry Schertzinger (2) celebrates a goal with first-year midfielder Antonio DeMarco (15) during a men's lacrosse game on Dorrance Field against UVA on Thursday, Mar. 10, 2022. UNC lost 11-15.

The scoreboard shows the ending, but it doesn’t always tell the story.

The No. 7 North Carolina men’s lacrosse team fell 15-11 to No. 2 Virginia in a sloppy ACC opener that looked promising for the Tar Heels, but turned into a struggle in the latter half.

The difference may have only been four points, but costly turnovers and a dreadful third quarter made it feel like an even larger gap.

UNC and Virginia went back and forth — trading goals in the first half with the Tar Heels leading 10-9 at the break.

It didn’t get any better from there.

UNC quickly lost its footing in the competition, failing to score a goal while giving up five in the third quarter. The Tar Heels finished with only one goal scored in the second half — their fewest goals scored in the second half since the team's loss to Ohio State earlier this season.

And that wasn’t the only unsavory season record they set. The Tar Heels recorded 22 turnovers — a new season high. 

“They just clamped down on us, defensively,” head coach Joe Breschi said. “We didn’t even get some opportunities, and I credit their defense for making plays, but we gotta be able to take care of the ball more.”

Virginia played an aggressive game Friday night, getting physical and denying offensive threats like graduate attackman Chris Gray. The game got chippy at times, with players being pushed into the ground and flags flying around — but the Tar Heels won't offer any excuses for how things went on the offensive end. 

“(The physicality) didn’t really affect us, we were just playing our game,” senior attackman Nicky Solomon said. “I thought we did our offensive sets pretty well — we just, you know, flailed, slipped, made some dumb turnovers which didn’t end in our way.”

A huge part in keeping the scoreboard closer than the events of the game was senior goalkeeper Collin Krieg and his huge saves throughout the game. 

With Virginia being relentless with their shooting — outshooting UNC 53-38 — Krieg remained solid as made a season-high 18 saves.

Krieg was tested the most in the third quarter as the Cavaliers shot 18 times, and he saved five of them, preventing a more lopsided score.

“It’s just important just thinking ‘Alright, next save,’ stay under the process," Krieg said. "It’s really all you can do as a goalie.”

Considering the talent UNC has on its roster, and the caliber of their opponent on Friday, this loss is nothing to panic about going forward.

Breschi’s team is “learning on the fly,” due to the inexperience on the team from youth and lack of playing time, and they are looking to get better game after game.

Although they may have the ability to compete with the best, the Tar Heels must keep their mistakes low if they want to start finishing games and beat the nation’s best consistently.

“That’s what I told the guys in the huddle," Breschi said. "I said, 'If that’s the best team in the country, I like our chances, if we continue to go to work and get ourselves better.'”


@dthsports |

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