North Carolina vs. Denver
March 17, 2002
The Game Story:
CHAPEL HILL, N.C.-- For the second consecutive Sunday the University of Denver menĘs lacrosse team threw a scare into a Top 10 opponent but the #10 North Carolina Tar Heels held on to beat the Pioneers 9-8 at Fetzer Field Sunday afternoon before a rain-soaked crowd of 1,117. Last Sunday the Pioneers gave #1-ranked Syracuse fits before falling 13-10 when the Orangemen went on a 4-1 run in the last eight minutes to win the game. The scenario was different Sunday as Carolina built a five-goal lead in the first half and had to withstand three UD goals in the final seven minutes of the fourth quarter to emerge with the win.

UNC freshman attackman Jed Prossner made the big plays for the Tar Heels in the clutch as he assisted on CarolinaĘs sixth and seventh goals and then scored the eighth and ninth himself. Junior attackman Steven Will was the only other Tar Heel to score in the multiple goal category while senior midfielder Pat Jackson chipped in with two assists. Denver was the first team this season to hold the Tar Heels to single digits in the goal department. The Pioneers (3-3) were led by Matt Brown who had three goals and Erik Swanson who had one goal and three assists. Carolina went ahead 5-0 in the first half as five different UNC players scored in the run. Sophomore attackman Andrew Lucas opened up the scoring with 9:39 left in the first quarter and sophomore midfielder Johnny Seivold and Will added goals before the end of the first quarter, both off of assists by Jackson.

Senior midfielder Austin Garrison and junior midfielder Kyle Bell added goals in the first eight minutes of the second quarter to build a five-goal cushion. The Pioneers got on the board with 4:18 left in the second quarter on an unassisted goal by Greer Hanlon. That goal was answered by Carolina less than two minutes before halftime as Prossner fed Will on an extra-man situation. Just as UNC had done eight days ago against Delaware the Tar Heels came out in the second half flat and Denver took advantage. Back-to-back goals by defenseman Cory Vann and Brown cut the Tar HeelsĘ lead to 6-3 with 8:12 to play in the third quarter. Bryant Will, Steven WillĘs younger brother, answered with a goal for UNC off an assist by Prossner but before the end of the third quarter Denver got a goal by Mike Petrucci to make it 7-4 Carolina heading into the final quarter.

BrownĘs second goal of the game, off the first of three assist by Swanson, cut the lead to two goals 1:23 into the fourth quarter but Carolina seized the momentum with back to back goals by Prossner, the first with 12 minutes left on an extra-man, and the second an spectacular unassisted goal with 8:03 to play. But to its credit Denver would simply not go away. The Pioneers picked up their passing game in the last seven minutes to almost pull off a splendid comeback. Swanson finished off a brilliant fast break with 6:36 to play. The Tar Heels held on defense but Steven WillĘs shot on a fast break was saved by DenverĘs Jeff Nunziato. On the ensuing possession, the Pioneers capitalized with a goal by Mike Kenlay off SwansonĘs feed with 3:56 to go. Carolina won the ensuing faceoff (the Heels won six of seven draws in the final quarter) but SeivoldĘs shot caromed off the right pipe and Denver won possession. CarolinaĘs Dave Duffy got flagged for slashing on the possession and Denver converted on the extra-man with Brown taking a feed from Swanson with 2:11 to play.

The Pioneers would never touch the ball again, however. Kevin Frew won the faceoff for Carolina and the Heels showed tremendous discipline, holding the ball in their attacking box for the final 2:11. Frew won some big faceoffs on the day for UNC, capturing 12 of his 18 attempts. The Tar Heels will travel to Durham, N.C., Wednesday night to meet sixth-ranked Duke at 7:30 p.m. at Koskinen Stadium. The Blue Devils have dominated the Tar Heels in recent years, winning seven of the last eight meetings, including the last four in a row. The game will be worth three points in the annual Carlyle Cup standings, an all-sports trophy contended for between the two schools. UNC head into the game with a 21-9.5 point lead over Duke in this yearĘs competition.