DURHAM, N.C. - The No. 14 North Carolina men’s lacrosse team (4-3, 1-1 ACC) fell to the No. 4 Duke Blue Devils (7-1, 2-0), 15-8, at Koskinen Stadium in Durham on Friday evening.
Duke’s defense dictated the start of the game, allowing just one shot on goal from the Tar Heels in the first nine minutes. The Blue Devils struck first offensively as well with a goal from senior attackman Dyson Williams. It wasn’t long before Duke had claimed its second goal and a 2-0 lead that set the tone for the rest of the night.
Again, the Blue Devils sent a shot between the pipes to extend their lead to three. However, UNC first-year attackman James Matan took advantage of a quick clear to score one-on-one on the break over Duke goalie William Helm. Duke responded by dropping in three goals of its own, including one with just 11.1 seconds remaining, to claim a 6-1 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Tar Heels’ defense tightened up a bit in the second quarter, but their offense still struggled to make up any ground for much of the period. Even when graduate attackman Logan McGovern found the back of the net for UNC’s second goal, Duke came right back with a goal of its own as it boasted a 9-2 lead.
Toward the end of the half UNC graduate midfielder Harry Wellford sent in a goal on a quick turnaround shot from the left side of the cage. And on the very next possession, the Tar Heels made noise with a goal from senior attackman Lance Tillman to cut Duke’s lead to five.
For the majority of the first half, the story was UNC’s inability to win faceoffs and claim possession. Winning just 4-14 first-half faceoffs, the Tar Heels were forced to defend for much of the half, and Duke’s offense took advantage.
The momentum from UNC’s two goals to end the first half carried over into the opening minutes of the third quarter as it sent the ball into the net after picking up a ground ball just feet from the cage following a save from Duke. The goal was the second of the night for Matan.
UNC started the second half determined to capitalize on the momentum it had earned as it won the first three faceoffs of the half—scoring on all three drives back-to-back. The second goal of the run came from senior faceoff midfielder Andrew Tyeryar. Tillman then notched his second goal of the night to bring the Tar Heels within two.