North Carolina vs. Virginia
April 10, 2004
The Game Story:
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Nine different North Carolina players scored goals to overcome a five-goal, two-assist performance by Virginia attackman Matt Ward as the fifth-ranked Tar Heels upended the 15th-ranked Cavaliers 11-9 before a crowd of 2,164 fans at sunny Fetzer Field Saturday afternoon. The win broke a two-game losing streak for Coach John Haus' Tar Heels as Carolina improved to 6-3 overall on the season and finished the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season at 2-1. Defending NCAA champion Virginia is now 3-6 overall and 0-2 in the ACC.

Both teams received superb goalkeeping efforts as Tillman Johnson had 16 saves for the Cavaliers and Paul Spellman made 13 saves for the Tar Heels. Spellman was brilliant in the second half as he saved nine successive Cavalier shots on goal to rally the Tar Heels from a 7-6 deficit to an 11-7 lead with 4:33 to play in the game. The win was Carolina's first over the Wahoos since April 7, 2001 when Carolina defeated Virginia 7-5 at Klockner Stadium in Charlottesville, Va. It was also only the second win for Carolina in the last 12 meetings with Virginia dating back to 1997.

Carolina was led offensively by attackman Andrew Lucas who came off the bench to score two goals and pass for two assists as well as attackman Ryan Blair who had two goals and an assist. They were the only Tar Heels with more than one goal. Attackman Scott Falatach had a goal and two assists for UNC. The Wahoos played smothering defense on UNC leading scorer Jed Prossner, who was held to one assist.

Virginia's go-to man was Ward who found the back of the net five times. But the only other Wahoos to score were attackman John Christmas with two goals and Jared Little and Hunter Kass who had one goal apiece.

The Tar Heels started the game on a 3-0 run. Carolina's first goal came with 9:08 left in the first quarter as Falatach fed long-stick defensive midfielder Billy Staines in transition for a 1-0 lead. Staines' bounce shot beat Johnson, giving the sophomore his first college goal. UNC increased the lead to 2-0 on a goal an outside shot by Andrew McElduff at 5:02, assisted by Kyle Henderson. At 4:08, Bryant Will cut to the crease and took a pass from behind by Ryan Blair to make it 3-0.

Virginia would tie the game before Carolina would touch the ball again. The Cavaliers won the ensuing faceoff and Jared Little rolled the crease to make the score 3-1. After another faceoff win, Ward scored the first of his five tallies at 2:27 before he fed Hunter Kass for a wicked rip into the upper twine at the 1:22 mark.

Carolina went back up 19 seconds into the second quarter as Lucas found Blair lurking on Johnson's backside for an easy putaway on an extra-man situation. Virginia responded with back-to-back goals by Ward at 10:59 and 6:28 of the second quarter as the Wahoos took their first lead of the game at 5-4. Carolina's Johnny Seivold tied the score with 3:30 left before halftime as he cut to the crease and took an entry pass from Bryant Will for an overhanded shot that found paydirt. Virginia retaliated with just 27 seconds left in the half as John Christmas bounced a shot passed Spellman with an assist by Kyle Dixon.

With Virginia leading at intermission, Carolina tied the quickly at 13:39 of the third quarter as Falatach scooped up a ground ball in an unsettled situation and snuck a tweener past Johnson. The Wahoos responded with 9:06 left in the third quarter after Carolina was whistled for an illegal substitution on its second straight possession. The Cavaliers capitalized on the fast break with Christmas scoring from Ward. After that seventh goal, however, Spellman would make nine straight saves on Virginia shots that were on net before allowing a goal by Ward with 2:25 to play in the game.

Meanwhile, UNC ran off five straight goals. At 4:53 of the third quarter, Prossner fed Lucas on an EMO situation to tie the game and then the Tar Heels took the lead for the first time since early in the second quarter when Lucas assisted Blair on an EMO identical to the goal scored 19 seconds into the second period. After a save by Spellman late in the third quarter, the Tar Heels scored a transition goal with just fours second left as Falatach fed an open Mike McCall for the tally.

UNC got unassisted goals by Lance Zimmerman and by Lucas with 8:34 and 4:33 to play to stretch the lead to 11-7 but then play got sloppy for Carolina. Carolina's Andrew McElduff and Jed Prossner had turnovers on successive possessions and Ward scored on break opportunities at 2:25 and 1:46. Spellman appeared to save the first of the two goals but it got behind him and trickled over the line.

After Ward's goal with 1:46 to play, Carolina's Kevin Frew won the ensuing faceoff and the Tar Heels killed off the remaining time on the clock to solidify the win.

Carolina finished with a shot margin of 40-34. Most stat areas were virtually even. UNC won 12 faceoffs to 10 for Virginia and UNC had 34 ground balls and Virginia 33. Carolina had 13 turnovers and Virginia 12.

Carolina's next game is against UMBC next Saturday at 1 p.m. at Kenan Stadium on the UNC campus. Virginia will play host to Duke next Saturday at Klockner Stadium at 1 p.m.