R.G. Keenan won a faceoff and streaked down the field to score the winning goal for No. 5 North Carolina with 2:28 left. The goal helped the Tar Heels (8-2, 2-2 ACC) hand the No. 8 UVa. Cavaliers (8-4, 1-3 ACC) its second straight loss, 11-10, in front of 4,952 fans on Saturday afternoon at Fetzer Field.
“That was a terrific lacrosse game and I am really proud of my guys,” said Virginia men’s lacrosse head coach dom starsia. “We have had some important wins during the course of this season in which I didn’t think we played as well, or as complete as a game as we did today. We never gave in and we battled the whole time. In the end, we had a chance to make a play and we didn’t complete the pass, but I give our guys a lot of credit.”
Steve Pontrello scored at the 12:54 mark to give UNC an early 1-0 lead in the first quarter. UVa evened the score, 1-1, at 7:03 in the first quarter when Bobby Hill found Chris LaPierre in transition for the goal. UNC finished the first quarter scoring on goals by Joey Sankey and Jimmy Bitter, giving the Tar Heels a 3-1 lead.
Mark Cockerton scored on a Zed Williams helper at the 9:51 mark in the second quarter to start a 3-1 UVa run. Ryan Tucker scored at 5:59 in the second period on a LaPierre assist to cap the run and tie the game, 4-4.
Bitter scored again with 1:34 left in the first half to give UNC a short 5-4 lead. Mick Parks won the ensuing faceoff and streaked toward the goal. Kieran Burke saved the shot by Parks, but Cockerton picked up the ground ball and quickly scored to tie the game, 5-5, heading into the intermission.
James Pannell put UVa up 6-5 at the 14:01 mark in the third quarter on a Cockerton pass. Sankey tied the game, 6-6, with 9:22 left in the third period. The momentum shifted back to UVa when Pat Harbeson scored an unassisted goal at 7:55 to give Virginia a 7-6 lead.
Goals by Shane Simpson and Luke Goldstock gave UNC an 8-7 advantage with 5:28 left in the third quarter. Cockerton scored again at 4:07 to tie the game. After Pannell was charged with tripping with 1:31 left in the third quarter, Walker Chafee scored with 1:01 left in the period on the extra-man situation, capping the third quarter scoring. UNC entered the final frame with a 9-8 lead.
Cockerton and Greg Coholan scored UVa’s only goals of the fourth quarter, but took the 10-8 lead with 3:38 left. Steve Pontrello tied the game for UNC, 10-10, with 2:33 left. Keenan won the ensuing faceoff to set up his game-winning goal with 2:28 remaining.
UVa came away with the following faceoff, but Pannell turned it over with just under a minute remaining. UVa forced UNC into a 30-second violation turnover, but an errant pass on the restart with 20 seconds left finalized the loss for the Cavaliers.
UVa won the battle of shots (41-36), ground balls (36-30), faceoffs (14-11) and saves (13-11). UVa also committed more turnovers than UNC (17-13). Cockerton led UVa with four goals and one assist.
UVa returns to action on Friday when Duke comes to Klöckner Stadium. Faceoff is set for 6 p.m. and the game will be televised live on ESPNU.