The No. 9 North Carolina men’s lacrosse team faced a No. 15 Duke squad with a white-hot goalie in front of a capacity crowd at Dorrance Field on Saturday.
There, the Blue Devils throttled the Tar Heels 15-6 — behind 19 saves from graduate Mike Adler and seven goals from sophomore Brennan O’Neill.
UNC only scored one goal in the first half — by far its lowest total of the season, and Adler’s .933 save percentage through 30 minutes rivaled some of the best goalies in the National Hockey League. Considering lacrosse net-minders aim to make stops at around a 55 percent clip, Adler’s rate was simply unfathomable.
“We pressed a bit offensively when he made nine saves in the first quarter and took the wind out of our sails,” UNC head coach Joe Breschi said. “Sometimes you hit a hot goalie at the wrong time, and that’s what today was.”
The Blue Devils throttled the scored the Tar Heels’ lone goal of the first half, catching a feed from Gray and picking the top left corner on the extra man.
He also sang Adler’s praises. Schertzinger knows his team needs to execute at a much higher level offensively as it moves through the rest of its ACC schedule.
“It’s easier said than done to have the next shot mentality,” Schertzinger said. “When you have a goalie that hot, you know he’s seeing the ball. Every save he makes continues to pile up in the back of your mind, so as a shooter, you start to think and overthink.”
Duke dominated North Carolina in what many consider the sport’s most important stat — ground balls, where the team picked up 35 to UNC’s 21 that ultimately gave the Blue Devils more possessions. Even though UNC sophomore goalie Collin Krieg stood on his head to make 19 saves at a 55.9 percent rate, the sheer number of shots he faced was too many for any goalie to be successful.
“They didn’t give us second chance opportunities by scooping up loose balls, specifically at the offensive end,” Breschi said. “They caused a lot of turnovers and came away with some loose balls.”