No. 8 UVA stops No. 6 UNC 13-11 in ACC Showcase lacrosse
No. 8 Virginia outscored No. 6 North Carolina 9-3 over the last 33 minutes of the game to rally past the Tar Heels 13-11 in the ACC Showcase game at PPL Park late Saturday.
The Tar Heels ended their regular season with a 10-4 record with the losses coming by a total of five goals. Virginia improved to 10-5 and ended a four-game losing streak against the Tar Heels.
The showcase game featured nationally ranked teams that didn not qualify for the four-team ACC Tournament which concludes Sunday, April 27.
North Carolina will now await its NCAA Tournament fate when bids are announced eight days from now. The Tar Heels will be looking to earn an NCAA bid for the eighth straight year.
Mark Cockerton led the Cavaliers to the victory with a seven-point night on four goals and three assists. James Pannell added three goals and one assist for UVA while Ryan Tucker and Tyler German each had two goals for Virginia. German had the game-winning goal for the Cavaliers with six minutes to play.
Pat Foster led the Tar Heels offensively with a five-point night on two goals and three assists. Jimmy Bitter added a hat trick for UNC while Joey Sankey had a goal and two assists. Bitter now has 14 career hat tricks.
After the teams were tied at 4-4 at the end of the first quarter, UNC scored four straight goals to open the second period. Jimmy Bitter’s goal with 6:26 to play in the second quarter gave Carolina an 8-4 lead but from that point on Virginia dominated the game, limiting Carolina to just three goals in the final 36:26 of action.
Trailing 8-5 at the half, Virginia scored twice in the opening 1:06 of the third quarter and eventually tied the game at 9-9 on Ryan Tucker’s goal with 7:31 left in the period. Virginia outshot the Tar Heels 14-5 in the period and outscored Carolina 5-3 to pull within one goal entering the fourth quarter.
Virginia outscored the Tar Heels 3-0 in the final period to pull away for the victory and Matt Barrett made four of his nine saves in the final period to fend off any late offensive charge by Carolina.
James Pennell tied the game off an assist by Cockerton with 11:07 to play in the game and then Tyler German scored the eventual game-winner off an assist by Cockerton with 6:05 left in the game. Virginia clinched the game with an empty net goal by Cockerton with 1:07 left.
Virginia outshot the Tar Heels 40-33 in the game and had a 39-32 edge in ground balls. Virginia also had a slight edge in the face-off circle 15-12. Carolina struggled in the clearing game, failing eight times on 19 attempts, including four times in the fourth quarter alone as it attempted to rally. Virginia also had six failed clears and both teams were effective in the riding game.
R.G. Keenan was 12-27 in the face-off circle for UNC and had a game-high nine ground balls. Jake Bailey had five ground balls for UNC as well. Mick Parks won 15 of 27 face-offs for UVA and led the Cavaliers with eight ground balls.