The No. 15 North Carolina lacrosse team (8-5, 1-4 ACC) fell 12-5 in its matchup against conference opponent No. 9 Notre Dame (6-4, 3-1 ACC) on Thursday evening in South Bend.
Although Notre Dame opened the scoring just 40 seconds into the game, UNC was able to respond four minutes later thanks to a goal scored by senior Nicky Solomon. The Fighting Irish took the lead again less than a minute later, before North Carolina was able to level the score again, this time via a goal by junior Lance Tillman, to make it 2-2 with 3:09 left in the period.
The Tar Heels were able to take their first lead of the game early in the second period, when their extra man advantage allowed graduate student Chris Gray to score a goal, giving UNC a 3-2 advantage.
But the Fighting Irish were able to tie the game three minutes later to make it 3-3. The goal was the first of nine straight unanswered goals, which allowed Notre Dame to amass an 11-3 lead with 11:39 left in the game.
North Carolina was able to pull two goals back in the time remaining, but the Fighting Irish were able to add a goal of their own for an eventual 12-5 win.
Who stood out?
Tillman and Gray each contributed three points for the Tar Heels. Tillman led in scoring with two goals and an assist. Gray had two assists and one goal.
Gray’s three points on the night brings his career total to 395, just six points shy of the NCAA Division I all-time career point record.
When was it decided?
After Notre Dame regained its lead early in the second period, North Carolina went 36 minutes without scoring a single goal. UNC’s defense also struggled in that time, allowing the Fighting Irish to build an eight-goal lead.
The Tar Heels were able to reignite their offense with just under five minutes remaining in the game. But it was too little too late, as they were only able to add two goals while giving up yet another.
Why does it matter?
No. 9 Notre Dame has not been the first ranked team that North Carolina has faced this season. They also came up against No. 13 Johns Hopkins, No. 20 Denver, No. 15 Duke and No. 7 Virginia. After this loss, UNC are now 2-4 against ranked teams on the season.
The five goals the Tar Heels tallied against the Fighting Irish were the second-fewest they’ve scored in a game so far this season. The season-low came in a 11-4 loss at No. 7 Virginia.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels wrap up the regular season on May 1 with an away matchup at No. 11 Duke.
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