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'Not strong, but we finished': UNC men's lacrosse earns 16-9 win over High Point


UNC graduate midfielder Connor Maher (31) runs with the ball during the men's lacrosse game against High Point on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, at Dorrance Field. UNC beat High Point 16-9.

All season, North Carolina men’s lacrosse head coach Joe Breschi has told his team to embrace the chaos.

On a wet Dorrance Field on Wednesday, in the team's 16-9 win over High Point, that’s exactly what the players did — they embraced the chaos.

For 60 minutes, players slipped, had sticks fall out of their hands and saw the ball on the ground, creating chances for each team to gain extra possessions for their high-powered offenses to score.

“We play out on this field all the time, we know it’s slippery,” sophomore defender Paul Barton said. “When both teams are slipping, whoever’s playing harder gets the benefit of the doubt for all those slips. Whoever’s playing harder usually comes up with the ball at the end.”

Even with all the slipping and miscues involved with the wet grass, that was far from the most chaotic part of Wednesday night’s game.

During two minutes in the fourth quarter, North Carolina capitalized on the sporadic energy and scored two goals off of a full-field shot and a hidden ball trick.

All game long, High Point was engaged in a 10-man ride when the Tar Heels were looking to clear the ball, putting goalkeeper Parker Green on an offensive player rather than in the goal. Multiple UNC defenders tried their hand at scoring from their side of the field, but failed each time.

However, with just under nine minutes left in the game, Barton tried to register his third goal of the season, seeing Green on the far side of the restraining box tightly guarding first-year attackman James Matan.

A Hail Mary heave and one bounce of the ball later and the ball was in the back of the net.

“All week we prepared for the 10-man ride,” Barton said. “As soon as we saw the goalie was on the right side of the goal, I figured I might as well chuck it and I’d either put it on net or get it to the backup.”

Then with under seven minutes to go, sophomore defensive midfielder Ty English decided to drum up a little chaos of his own.

With the High Point defense still getting into formation coming off of the fast break, the Ontario native settled the ball for a second. He faked a flip pass to graduate midfielder Griffin Gallagher and ran to the top of the box as if he didn’t have the ball before ripping a shot into the net.

But aside from those two goals, the second half hinged on the wrong type of chaos for North Carolina.

After taking a 12-5 lead into halftime, UNC’s offense went into a hiatus, scoring four goals in the next 30 minutes, struggling to create chances due to High Point’s halftime adjustments. In the third and fourth quarters combined, the Tar Heels registered just 14 shots, only one more than the 13 they had in each of the first and second quarters.

“We played a lot better offensively in the first half and in the chaos,” graduate attackman Logan McGovern said. “They were yelling on the bench. They wanted to frazzle us and get us out of our rhythm, but we held our own. In the second half, we needed to improve on offense and generate more chances and more opportunities and cash in a little bit better.”

Even through all the chaos and second-half troubles, North Carolina was able to pick up its sixth win of the season. At the end of the day, that’ll do the job for Breschi.

“Overall, we just scrapped, and we finished, Breschi said. "Not strong, but we finished.”


@dthsports |

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