Tar Heels have shot at both ACC lacrosse titles
The North Carolina men’s lacrosse team hasn’t won the ACC Tournament since 1996. The UNC women’s team has won the ACC Tournament just once, in 2002.
Today, both teams will have a chance to pull off the rare feat while playing on their own campus.
The men are up first with a championship game against surprise finalist Virginia at Kenan Stadium (1 p.m., ESPNU), while the women will have their chance at a title against undefeated Maryland at Fetzer Field (5 p.m., Fox Sports South).
The UNC men (11-3) are coming off an exhilarating 18-17 win against Duke on Friday night, which set a record for goals scored in an ACC Tournament game.
The Tar Heels led 15-6 early in the third quarter, then allowed eight straight to the Blue Devils, who eventually took a 17-16 lead before UNC netted the last two.
Marcus Holman scored the winner with 1:28 remaining, and teammate Keirnan Burke made a save with six seconds left when Duke had an extra-man opportunity.
“People asked me if I have ever been a part of a game like that,” Tar Heels coach Joe Breschi said. “I can tell you this — I have never been part of a game where we had a nine-goal lead, seen the other team come back to lead and still have that resiliency, that desire, that fight to continue to battle.”
Holman, a senior attackman, now has 202 career points, just two shy of Bruce Ledwith’s school record of 204 set from 1970-73. UNC has won eight straight games, its longest streak since 1993.
The third-ranked Tar Heels will now face the unranked Cavaliers (7-7), who knocked off top-seeded Maryland 13-6 on Friday and needs to pull off one more upset to qualify for its ninth straight NCAA Tournament.
“We’ve been playing pretty good defense throughout the year,” Virginia coach Dom Starsia said. “We are starting to get a couple of saves, and it is just starting to come together for us a little bit.”
The Tar Heels defeated the Cavs 10-7 three weeks ago, part of Virginia’s recent six-game losing streak, but were outshot 51-32 and needed 23 saves by Burke.
“Virginia’s a great team,” Breschi said. “They’ve been snakebitten a little bit with some tight losses. We certainly have to be much better defensively getting nice and tight in our 6-on-6 package.”
While the UNC men are the favorite today, the third-ranked women (14-2) are a decided underdog. The top-ranked Terrapins (18-0) have won four straight ACC titles, the past three against UNC by a combined 14 goals, and are undefeated this season. Their only game that was decided by less than three goals was a 14-13 win over UNC at Maryland three weeks ago.
The Terrapins feature Tewaaraton Award winner Katie Schwarzmann, 100-point scorer Alex Aust and IWLCA national defender of the year Iliana Sanza.
The highest-scoring offense in the country was balanced on Friday, as four players scored hat tricks in a 13-9 win over fifth-seeded Virginia. The Tar Heels also showed off their depth in a 16-6 win over No. 3 Boston College, with eight attackers scoring goals.
“Obviously, they’re coming into the game undefeated,” UNC coach Jenny Levy said. “They’re very talented, very aggressive. They’re a lot to handle, so we’re excited to see what we can do against them.”