“The disappointing piece was I think early in the game we were getting beat in an area of the game that we have been really good at recently, and which was on the ground,” said Virginia men’s lacrosse head coach Dom Starsia. “The ground balls stat at halftime was disappointing and the faceoff piece of it hurt us overall. It gave Carolina a chance to maintain momentum through the game and I thought we would be a little stronger there. Credit to Carolina for being sharp and I think we let ourselves get knocked off our game early on and never quite recovered. Life gives you some twists and turns and we need to bounce back quickly.”
UNC took an early 1-0 lead 29 seconds into the game when Michael Tagliaferri scored unassisted after curling around from behind the cage and deposited a jump shot in the upper corner.
AJ Fish answered for Virginia at the 10:15 mark in the first quarter with an unassisted shot, tying the game at 1-1. Virginia did not score again for the next 21:46 as the Tar Heels reeled off a 9-0 run to take a 10-1 lead. Steve Pontrello capped the run for UNC with an unassisted goal at 5:59 in the second quarter.
UVA retorted with a 3-0 run, led by two goals from James Pannell and one from Fish. Pannell’s second of the game at 9:50 in the third quarter capped the run, cutting the UNC lead to 10-4.
North Carolina retaliated with a 4-0 lead, taking a 14-4 lead. Patrick Kelly capped the run at 12:24 in the fourth quarter. After Greg Coholan scored with 9:41 left in the game, the Cavaliers and Tar Heels traded goals until UNC’s Luke Goldstock scored with 6:27 left in the game, capping North Carolina’s scoring for the game.
Ryan Lukacovic and Pannell scored UVA’s final two goals of the game, capping the eight-goal win by North Carolina.
UNC won the battle of shots (56-33), ground balls (31-17), faceoffs (17-10), saves (15-12) and had more turnovers (8-6).
Pannell led UVA with three goals, while Fish had two scores and one assist. Lukacovic added two goals and one assist as well.
Virginia returns to action on Sunday, April 17 when Duke comes to Klöckner Stadium. Faceoff is set for noon and the game will be televised live on ESPN2.