North Carolina vs. Navy
March 5, 2004
The Game Story:
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Junior defensive midfielder Clipper Lennon (Westminster, Md.) scored two goals on the evening, but none more important that his goal with 2:31 to go in overtime to lead the unranked Midshipmen (2-1) to a 9-8 victory over fourth-ranked North Carolina (1-1) at Fetzer Field Friday evening in Chapel Hill. The win was the Mids' second-consecutive win over the Tar Heels, while also marking the fifth-straight game which came down to a one-goal decision. It was also the fourth time in the last five games contested between the two schools in which the game was decided in overtime.

"I am very excited to our guys," said Navy head coach Richie Meade. "I'm very proud of how we came out to play tonight after having such a tough loss last week. Our defense did a solid job tonight and I have to applaud the Matt Russell's performance in goal. This is a big win for our program."

UNC jumped on top of the Mids at the 5:01 mark in the first quarter as Ryan Blair tucked an unassisted goal past Navy keeper Matt Russell (Madison, Conn.), who was elevated to the starting position last Monday. The Tar Heels' lead was short lived, however, as senior rider Brendan Looney (Silver Spring, Md.) produced his first-career assist when finding Ian Dingman (Deferiet, N.Y.) to knot the score at one apiece just seven seconds after Blair's score. The score not only erased Carolina's lead, it would be the only lead the Tar Heels would have in the contest. The two teams concluded the opening period by trading goals as the score stood tied at 2-2 after the first 15 minutes.

Navy took a two-goal lead in the second on back-to-back goals by junior middie Graham Gill (Medford, N.J.) and senior Matt Midura (Ellicott City, Md.) just one minute apart. Carolina narrowed the lead to one (4-3) heading into the locker room at the half after Johnny Seivold scored.

The Mids pushed the lead to three goals (6-3) in the third period, as Gill scored his second of the evening just two minutes into the half. Dingman scored Navy's second goal 10 minutes later when Lennon found Dingman in transition. UNC's Scott Falatach countered with a goal 40 seconds later to put the Tar Heels within two at 6-4.

Junior face-off specialist Chris Pieczonka (Hamburg, N.Y.) was able to score off his win in the draw circle, giving Navy a comfortable 7-4 lead just six seconds into the fourth quarter.

Carolina, though, struck back, scoring three-consecutive goals to knot the score at seven all with 8:30 to play in the game.

Pieczonka won the ensuing face-off with wing man Steve Looney (Silver Spring, Md.) picking up the ground ball. Looney went on to find Pieczonka racing in transition and Pieczonka fired in the shot to put the Mids up by one with 8:12 to play.

The Mids held the 8-7 lead until the 1:29 mark when Jed Prossner found Falatach for his second goal of the contest, sending the game into extra minutes. Nearly midway through the overtime session, Lennon found his way to the net in yet another transition play for the Mids and gave Navy its second win of the year.

Pieczonka was 9-for-16 in draws, as the teams nearly split at 10 wins for Navy and 11 for North Carolina. In his first varsity start, Russell warded off 12 Carolina shots, facing 46 on the evening. Navy was led by Lennon's three points on two goals and an assist, while Dingman, Gill and Pieczonka all produced a pair of goals.

Navy (2-1) returns to action next Saturday when it plays host to Bucknell (1-0). Game time is set for 12-Noon at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.