Feb. 25, 2011
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The 12th-ranked North Carolina men’s lacrosse team scored four of the game’s final five goals to secure a 10-8 victory over Navy Friday evening at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill. A typical Navy-North Carolina duel, fans were treated to an up-and-down game that featured five ties, including three in the second half of play.
“I thought it was a heck of a game,” said Navy head coach Richie Meade. “We gave a great effort, but it’s just tough giving a great effort and coming away with a loss.
“That said, I do think this game and last week’s game against Loyola will help us in the future. We are a lot better off having played tough games and tough opponents. I think we are playing pretty well, but we have to be able to consistently play at a very high level and become a little more disciplined.”
Both teams put together impressive runs in the opening half of play, including four-straight goals by the Midshipmen that was spearheaded by freshman attackman Tucker Hull (Charlotte, N.C.), who netted Navy’s first goal of the game with just 16 ticks remaining in the opening period. Freshmen Sam Jones (Annapolis, Md.) and Harrison Chaires (Ellicott City, Md.), along with senior Andy Warner (Corning, N.Y.) would all punch in goals for the Mids as Navy built a 4-1 advantage with 7:22 remaining in the first half.
Carolina sliced into the lead on a pretty play from senior attackman Billy Bitter just 32 seconds later. However, Navy took a 5-2 advantage with under six to go when a save by junior keeper RJ Wickham (Penn Yan, N.Y.) led to a fantastic transition goal by the Mids. Wickham sent his outlet pass to second-year defensive midfielder Jordan Seivold (Minnetonka, Minn.) who was off to the races. Sprinting from end to end, he found Jones who targeted a long shot from the left corner.
North Carolina, though, found a hot stick thanks to freshman faceoff specialist R.G. Keenan who was near perfect on the evening. He kept generating possession for the Tar Heels and over the course of one minute and 30 seconds, the Tar Heels scored three goals and knotted up the game at 5-5. The equalizer came from defenseman Ryan Flanagan, who sent his shot right through Wickham’s legs.
Navy wasted little time in breaking the tie coming out of intermission, as Jones perfectly threaded his pass from behind the goal to junior attackman Taylor Reynolds (Babylon, N.Y.) who, despite being triple teamed, fired in his point-blank shot.
The Mids’ lead would be short-lived, however, as middie Jimmy Dunster’s shot on the run managed to catch the inside post, tying the game for the third time at 6-6.
A resilient Navy team fought back to take the lead for a final time in the game when a slide to Warner resulted in an uncovered Hull, who scored for the second time in the game on a two-yarder at the 12:35 mark.
The Mids held the lead for the better part of four minutes, but Carolina rookie Nicky Galasso began taking control of the game, fueling the Tar Heels. First he found Dunan Hutchins cutting in from the left side of the crease to tie the game and then he took a pass from Will Campbell and snuck it past Wickham on a lefty low to low shot. Galasso’s goal at 7:57 in the third was North Carolina’s first lead since scoring the game-opening goal.
Nearly three minutes later, sophomore midfielder Jay Mann (Cockeysville, Md.) sent a hard shot that would be deflected back into play by Carolina keeper Chris Madalon. Reynolds scooped up the ball and spun around to pocket his second goal of the contest and send the game into its fifth tie.
Following a Navy timeout with two minutes to play in the third quarter, middie Pat Foster gave the Tar Heels the lead for good, when he sent a 10-yard shot from a tough angle on the left wing in past Wickham.
Flanagan provided the insurance goal just six seconds into the final quarter, picking up the ball off a faceoff win by the Heels and firing it in for his second goal of the evening.
The Tar Heels dominated the game in almost every category, including winning 18 of the 22 faceoffs. Meanwhile, they owned a 40-28 advantage in shots and a 42-23 edge in ground balls. Neither team scored an extra-man goal, including the Mids who were 0 for 4.
After a slow start to the season, Wickham had easily his best game in goal this year. He made 14 saves and came up with a team-best eight ground balls. He made countless stops for the Mids, including a handful of point-blank saves to keep the Mids alive.
The Midshipmen will be back in action next Tuesday when they open Patriot League play at Lehigh in what will be Navy’s third-straight road game of the 2011 campaign. Brought to you live on 1430 WNAV, faceoff is set for 7:00 pm at Ulrich Sports Complex.
### Go Navy ###