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UNC men's lacrosse comes to life in second half to pull away from No. 6 Johns Hopkins in 11-7 win

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UNC junior goalkeeper Collin Krieg (39) clears the ball during the men’s lacrosse game against Mercer at Dorrance Field on Friday, Feb. 10, 2023. UNC won 25-3.

The No. 19 North Carolina men’s lacrosse team (2-0, 0-0 ACC) beat No. 6 Johns Hopkins (2-1, 0-0 Big Ten), 11-7, at Homewood Field on Tuesday night, outscoring the Blue Jays 8-1 in the second half to earn the team's first ranked win of the year.

What happened?

Johns Hopkins got on the board just 54 seconds into the game with a goal from Russell Melendenz to put the Tar Heels down early. However, that one goal would be all either team would be able to muster for the next 11 minutes. UNC junior goalie Colin Krieg and Johns Hopkins goalie Tim Marcille combined for six saves during the drought, making the game a defensive battle. With 3:08 left in the first quarter, Garett Degnon added another goal to the Blue Jays' total to give them a 2-0 lead.

North Carolina responded 18 seconds into the second quarter with graduate transfer attackman Sean Goldsmith scoring off of a slick assist from sophomore defensive midfielder Ty English. JHU brought its lead up to three with two straight goals, including one from Marcille who capitalized on Krieg stepping out of goal. Sophomore attackman Dewey Egan was able to dwindle the lead down to two, scoring midway through the quarter. The Tar Heels and Blue Jays traded goals, and it looked like they’d go into the break with Johns Hopkins having a 5-3 lead, but Johns Hopkins' Brendan Grimes was able to add another goal to the Blue Jays' lead with just three seconds left.

Coming out of the half, North Carolina had a three-minute possession but couldn’t capitalize, missing six shots. Finally, on their second possession of the third quarter, graduate transfer midfielder Harry Wellford was able to score by bouncing the ball over the head of Marcille. Three minutes later, senior midfielder P.J. Zinsner scored to put UNC within one for the first time in over 20 minutes. After Johns Hopkins was able to score another goal to make the score 7-5, Zinsner came back with his second goal of the game, again making it a one-score game heading into the final quarter.

Sophomore midfielder Antonio DeMarco continued the scoring run for UNC, going five-hole and putting the Tar Heels level for the first time since the beginning of the game. Then, with 8:22 left in the game, graduate transfer attackman Logan McGovern scored his first goal of the game to give North Carolina its first lead of the game. McGovern built onto the lead, assisting Goldsmith to make the score 9-7. The Tar Heels didn’t stop the offensive barrage and DeMarco scored his second goal of the game with 4:37 left to put Johns Hopkins into a hole. North Carolina added one more goal for good measure to take the win.

Who stood out? 

Krieg helped North Carolina stay in the game, helping the team win the game by making crucial saves and keeping the ball out of the net. He finished the game with 14 saves, including one where a Johns Hopkins player was alone right in front of the crease.

The offensive attack in the second half by UNC was a collaborative effort, but Zinsner and DeMarco’s four combined goals were a big part of how the Tar Heels were able to keep Johns Hopkins on their heels defensively.

When was it decided?

Johns Hopkins had four minutes to come back from a three-goal deficit after DeMarco’s goal but Dewey Egan put the nail in the coffin, scoring a goal with 54 seconds left to give the Tar Heels a four-goal lead.

Why does it matter?

The win matters because it shows that North Carolina can go toe-to-toe with the best teams in college lacrosse, and also rebound from offensive struggles as displayed by the Tar Heels' 6-0 run to close out the game.

When do they play next?

North Carolina will have another ranked test next Sunday when they travel to Columbus to face No. 6 Ohio State, who is tied with Johns Hopkins in the latest Inside Lacrosse poll. The game is on Big Ten Network+ and will begin at noon.

@thenoahmonroe

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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