UNC men top Virginia for ACC lacrosse title

CorrespondentApril 28, 2013 

— On a rainy Sunday when North Carolina would end one lacrosse drought, another continued.

Marcus Holman capped a record-setting day with the MVP award as second-seeded North Carolina withstood a determined effort from fourth-seeded Virginia (7-8) to claim its eighth ACC title – and first since 1996 – with a 16-13 victory at Kenan Stadium.

However, the UNC women saw their futility extended to four years against Maryland in the ACC tournament final at Fetzer Field, falling 12-8 to the No. 1-ranked and unbeaten Terrapins, who claimed their fifth straight title.

“I’m surprised that the drought has been that long,” Holman said, “but leading up to this week, we didn’t mention that at all, how long it’s been, or our record with Duke.”

UNC (12-3) had lost 16 of its last 17 meetings with the Blue Devils before winning 18-17 in Friday’s semifinals to reach the tournament final.

“We’re forming our own identity in the locker room,” Holman said. “This is a special team. That’s all I’ve got to say.”

Holman was a pretty special player, too. The senior attackman backed a four-goal effort by senior midfielder Davey Emala with five assists, and in the process set a UNC career record with 207 points. Coupled with his four-goal, two-assist effort – including the game-winning goal – in the win over Duke, Holman was a runaway choice for tournament MVP honors.

“It’s an honor to be named MVP,” Holman said. “But I couldn’t do it without the cast around me. You can’t do it without R.G. (Keenan) winning how many faceoffs he did today. Our offensive unit prides itself on having six guys who can score.”

Keenan dominated for stretches at the faceoff X, winning 18 of 32 overall. He also got them at key moments. Twice he won a faceoff after the Tar Heels had just scored, scooping up the ground ball himself and netting his own goal just five seconds later.

It was the junior midfielder’s first career multi-goal game, and it helped offset a tournament-record day by UVa attackmen Matt White and Nick O’Reilly. White had seven goals, a tournament single-game record, and 13 points (10 goals, three assists) for the weekend, also a record. O’Reilly finished with one goal and seven assists, the latter a one-game record. His nine tournament assists were also a record.

The Tar Heels also got a big effort from freshman goaltender Kieran Burke, who had 17 saves, 12 in the second half. Burke was at his best on Virginia’s five extraman opportunities, when he did not allow a goal. For his efforts, Burke joined teammates Holman, Emala, Keenan and midfielder Chad Tutton (three goals) on the all-tournament team.

“We’ve been doing the same thing pretty much all year,” UNC coach Joe Breschi said of the extraman defense. “It all comes down to the goalie making saves on outside shots. In the second half Kieran was pretty much dialed in.”

Burke has also been at his best against Virginia. In two outings against the Cavaliers he has recorded 40 saves, with a .667 save percentage.

UNC took control in the second quarter, breaking a 7-7 tie with three goals in the final 4:07 of the half. Holman assisted on all three, two by Emala and one by Tutton. Keenan’s first goal expanded the lead to 12-7 at 12:43 of the third quarter, and Virginia would not get within two goals until there was 8:45 left in the game when White was set up by O’Reilly for his seventh goal to make it 14-12.

UVa had a chance to get closer, but Burke saved an outside shot by Charlie Streep, and Emala and Keenan scored within five seconds of each other to put the game out of reach with 5:33 remaining.

Women’s final

In the women’s final, Maryland (19-0) pulled away from a 5-3 halftime advantage by outscoring UNC (14-3) 7-1 in the first 16 minutes of the second half.

Brooke Griffin, Taylor Cummings and Beth Glaros each had a hat trick for Maryland, and tournament MVP Katie Schwarzmann registered four assists.

Abbey Friend led UNC with four goals and an assist. She was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Aly Messinger and Kara Cannizzaro. Duke’s Makenzie Hommel also made the team.

“I thought we did a couple of good things, but our inability to clear the ball, 7-for-15, we struggled with that,” UNC coach Jenny Levy said,. “It was our Achilles’ heel today.”

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service