The No. 15 North Carolina men’s lacrosse team (7-4, 0-3 ACC) was defeated 11-4 by Virginia (8-2, 4-0) on Saturday afternoon in Charlottesville.
Virginia took an early 1-0 lead after a goal by junior attackman Payton Cormier just two minutes into the game. Less than three minutes later, UNC graduate student Chris Gray pocketed a goal for the Tar Heels. Virginia’s first-year goalie, Matthew Nunes, continued to stand tall against the Tar Heels, though, with three saves early in the game.
Gray persisted on offense, scoring another goal to put UNC up 2-1 with six minutes left in the first period. Despite being right-handed, Gray scored both of his early goals with his left hand.
Virginia graduate midfielder scored the first goal of the second quarter to tie the game at two.
With just under eight minutes remaining in the half, sophomore Cole Herbert scored for the Tar Heels off an assist by Gray to take a one-point lead. The lead was short-lived, however.
Virginia sophomore attackman Patrick McIntosh scored an underhand goal followed by a successful shot from Virginia first-year Griffin Schutz. Consecutive goals by Cormier in the last few minutes put the Cavaliers up 6-3 heading into halftime.
The third quarter had a slow start, with no goals in the first seven minutes. Virginia senior Jeff Conner broke the drought, propelling the Cavaliers on their 5-0 run against UNC. The Tar Heels found their first goal of the quarter with just three minutes remaining when Gray scored. Shortly after, Virginia registered a tripping penalty, giving UNC an extra-man opportunity for the last couple minutes. The Tar Heels could not capitalize, though, and entered the last quarter down three.
The Cavaliers reclaimed the four-point lead with a goal three minutes into the final quarter. UVA’s Schutz had his second goal of the game, with just under eight minutes left in the game, bringing the score to 9-4. UNC’s defense could not slow down the Cavaliers. Cormier recorded his fourth goal to put UVA up by six with less than five minutes remaining.
UVA ultimately outscored UNC 4-0 in the fourth quarter to finish the game 11-4.
Who stood out?
Cormier took control at the end of the first half, recording a hat-trick at the end of the second period. His offensive prowess allowed the Cavaliers to go up by three heading into the second half. He had a late goal in the fourth quarter to solidify the team’s lead.
Nunes was a brick wall in goal for the Cavaliers, saving 77 percent of shots on goal. The first-year had 13 saves total.
Gray led UNC in scoring, with a hat-trick and an assist.
When was it decided?
When UVA went up by four early in the final quarter, a Tar Heel win seemed unlikely, but not impossible. However, another UVA goal with just under eight minutes in the game put it away for the Cavaliers.
UVA dominated both offensively and defensively in the second half; UNC scored just one goal in the second half and allowed five on the other end.
Why does it matter?
Although UNC didn’t manage to pull out a revenge victory against the Cavaliers, this matchup against a top-10 team will be a learning experience for the Tar Heels as they finish the regular season. The season still holds No. 16 Notre Dame and No. 10 Duke, and UNC will need to make defensive changes after Saturday’s matchup as they head into the final three games.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will face Syracuse at home next Saturday, April 16, at 4 p.m.
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