The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Friday, Feb. 23, 2024 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

'We want to be playing for championships': UNC men's lacrosse falls 18-9 to Notre Dame

267B4FC3-16E2-4991-95B4-267093CA6AF6.jpeg
Junior defensive midfielder Alex Breschi (88) goes to make a buddy pass to a teammate against Syracuse. UNC beat Syracuse 14-13 at home on Saturday, April 16, 2022.

Saturday’s game against Notre Dame presented one last chance for North Carolina men’s lacrosse. One last chance for the seniors to play at Dorrance Field.

One last chance for the Tar Heels to break their three-game losing streak.

Most importantly, one last chance to get a win to bolster their weak NCAA Tournament resume ahead of Sunday’s selection show.

But, when the buzzer sounded, UNC’s losing streak extended to four games, losing 18-9, heading into Sunday on the outside looking in.

“You have to limit your mistakes,” head coach Joe Breschi said. “In games like this — we’ve talked about it before — we have to limit our turnovers and limit the opportunities that we give the other team. At the end of the day, it’s unfortunate, and they were able to capitalize.”

The mistakes began from the start of the game. Ten seconds into the first quarter, senior face-off specialist Andrew Tyeryar illegally checked a Notre Dame player, giving the No. 2 man-up unit in the nation an opportunity to get on the board early. Nearly half a minute later, the Fighting Irish were up 1-0 and, within seven minutes, would extend that lead and score three more goals.

All year, the North Carolina offense had been able to go on scoring runs, and they were able to respond to the Notre Dame scoring run with three goals in two minutes. But, the UNC offense has also tended to find itself in scoring lulls.

Aside from those two minutes in the first quarter, the Tar Heels were shut down in the first half by a goalkeeper, Liam Entenmann — who Breschi said was “the best goalkeeper in the country” — allowing Notre Dame to pull away.

“He’s always been good,” Breschi said. “Talking to other coaches and you ask them, ‘Hey, what’s his weakness,’ and they’re like, ‘I wish I could tell you one.’ It’s all about trying to get the best opportunities on him and he made some great saves.”

On the other side of the field, Notre Dame possesses one of the best duos in the country in Chris and Pat Kavanagh, who have reigned terror on opposing defenses. On Saturday, the duo had six and seven points, respectively, and made a talented North Carolina defense look lost.

Because of the brothers and the rest of the Notre Dame offense, the usually stout junior goalkeeper Collin Krieg was pulled by Breschi following the first quarter after letting in six goals on six shots on goal. Krieg was replaced by first-year Kent Goode who let in three goals on three shots on goal. Until 6:39 left in the second quarter, neither Krieg nor Goode had registered a save.

Goode bounced back however to record 12 saves on the day in his first game playing more than a quarter.

“We were looking for a spark, we were down 6-3, and were looking for a spark defensively to make some saves,” Breschi said. “When it’s the last game of your season, you’ve got to make it happen and change the tempo and change the momentum. [Goode] made some good saves today and came in when we needed him to and did a good job.”

If it is the last game of the season for Breschi and North Carolina, he recognized the fact that they were in the tournament conversation from the beginning to the end of the season. But, that wasn’t the goal.

“We want to be playing for championships and this season we didn’t," he said. "At the end of the day, it’s tough to swallow, but we have to get back to work.”

@thenoahmonroe

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.