DURHAM, N.C. - Sophomore attackman Thomas Wood scored a career-high five goals while adding an assist and junior attackman Billy Bitter had four goals and two assists to lead fourth-ranked North Carolina to a 13-7 win over 10th-ranked Duke in men's lacrosse action Wednesday before a crowd of 1,912 at Koskinen Stadium. The Tar Heel defense limited the Blue Devils to seven goals, the fewest the Blue Devils have scored against Carolina since March 20, 2002, and no Tar Heel opponent has scored more than seven against UNC's defense this season.
Carolina improved to 6-0 for the second straight year with the victory and UNC is 1-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference for the first time since 2004. Duke fell to 2-3 overall and is now 0-2 in the ACC.
Coach Joe Breschi's defense forced the Blue Devils into almost as many turnovers, 22, as shots taken by Duke, 24. UNC has not allowed a team to score more than seven goals against it since the Blue Devils beat Carolina 12-11 in the NCAA quarterfinals on May 17, 2009.
Carolina got great offensive balance and its relentless defense prevented the Blue Devils from gaining an offensive rhythm for most of the night. After UNC took its initial lead less than 10 minutes into the match, the Tar Heels led the rest of the night except for a span of 35 seconds after the Blue Devils had tied the match briefly at 6-6 in the third quarter.
Thomas Wood had a career-high five goals, besting the three he had earlier this season against Jacksonville. He also had an assist to give him a career-high six points, one more than he had against Lehigh on February 20. Wood has scored at least two goals in every game for the Heels this year. Bitter matched his season-high point total of six that he had earlier this year against Lehigh. Bitter's four goals were a season best and the most he has had since scoring eight against UMBC in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament. Most importantly, Wood and Bitter combined for five goals and two assists in a 7-1 scoring run after the Blue Devils had tied the game 6-6 with 4:03 to play in the third quarter.
Besides Bitter and Wood, UNC got two goals and two assists from senior midfielder Sean DeLaney, while senior midfielder Cryder DiPietro and freshman attackman Marcus Holman also had goals for the Heels. Max Quinzani had three goals for the Blue Devils while Josh Offit had a pair of goals and Zach Howell had a goal and an assist.
With the win, the Tar Heels ended an 11-game losing streak to the Blue Devils dating back to a 10-9 overtime win by Carolina at Koskinen Stadium on March 20, 2004 on a game decided by a goal by UNC's Lance Zimmerman in the first extra period. Carolina also ended a 15-game ACC regular-season losing streak with the win, a streak dating back to an 11-9 win over Virginia on April 10, 2004 at Fetzer Field.
UNC goalkeeper Chris Madalon made seven saves, allowed seven goals and had two ground balls, while Duke goalkeeper Dan Wigrizer made eight saves and allowed 13 goals in 57:36 of action. UNC junior defenseman Ryan Flanagan had a game-high three caused turnovers to go along with four ground balls and the assist on UNC's second goal of the match. Michael Burns led the Tar Heels with five ground balls while winning eight face-offs.
The Tar Heels outshot the Blue Devils 33-24 while the two teams were even in ground balls with 31 each and Duke had a slight edge in face-offs 10-8. Carolina's extra-man scored on four of seven opportunities. Carolina has scored on 11 of its 17 extra-man opportunities in the past three games.
The Tar Heels jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter. Billy Bitter got the scoring underway at 5:16 as he dodged his defender and rolled the crease to score on a dunk past Wigrizer. Just 18 seconds later, the Tar Heels made it 2-0 after forcing a Duke turnover. Defenseman Ryan Flanagan made a cross field pass from beyond the midfield line to a streaking Thomas Wood who caught it in stride behind every Duke defender, easily beating Wigrizer at 4:58 of the period. Carolina made it 3-0 with 45 seconds left in the first period during a delayed penalty call situation against the Devils. Sean DeLaney got the ball at the top of the box and passed to the left side where Cryder DiPietro scored on a hard outside shot past Wigrizer.
Duke cut the lead to 3-1 with 9:13 left in the second quarter as Max Quinzani scooped up a ground ball and scored in transition. Neither team scored for over three minutes before Bitter got his second goal of the half, dodging defenders with an ankle-breaking move to score from alone in front of the net at the 6:01 mark. It did not take Duke long to get back into the game. Zach Howell scored an opportunistic goal at 4:43, scooping up a ground ball in a scrum in front of the cage and scoring past Madalon. Twelve seconds later, UNC's Chris Hunt was called for tripping and Duke capitalized on the EMO just 24 seconds later with Quinzani scoring on the crease off a pass from Howell. Carolina finished off the scoring in the first half when both teams were trying to get their offensive-defensive substitutions on the field. Wood had the ball to the left of the goal when he spotted DeLaney unguarded and threaded a pass to him. DeLaney powered an outside shot past Wigrizer from up top and the Heels led 5-3.
Just four seconds before halftime, Duke's Mike Manley was penalized one minute for a cross check, giving the Tar Heels an extra-man opportunity to start the second half. UNC capitalized on the opportunity 23 seconds into the second half as Gavin Petracca was at the top of the box and then fed Thomas Wood on the left side for the EMO putaway. At that point in the game, Duke found some life and rattled off the next three goals. Josh Offit scored the first of his first two goals, taking a pass from Stephen Coyle on the crease and scoring while falling down at the 10:09 mark. At 6:47, Offit scored again on a bounce shot, assisted by Jonathan Lividas. Duke then get the equalizer when Quinzani came from behind the goal and despite between double teamed scored on a back-handed shot at 4:03 of the period.
Carolina then made a furious run, scoring four goals in the last 3:28 of the third quarter to take a 10-6 lead. Just 18 seconds after Quinzani tied the game, he was called for being offside during a UNC clear attempt, giving the Heels an EMO. UNC converted in just 17 seconds as Bitter fed from behind the goal to an unmarked Marcus Holman on the crease for a 7-6 lead. The next UNC goal was a Billy Bitter highlight reel. After being tripped by Parker McKee behind the goal, Bitter got back up and drove around the crease to score his third goal of the game, making it 8-6 with 2:20 left. McKee was sent to the penalty box for a minute and 49 seconds into the penalty, the Tar Heels got a two-man advantage when Justin Turri was called for pushing at 1:31.
UNC made it 9-6 at 1:20 of the period just as McKee was getting out of the penalty box. Bitter made a pass from up top to DeLaney on the left side who powered a shot past Wigrizer. Bitter then single-handedly made it 10-6 with another dodge around the crease to score with one second left in the third quarter as UNC capped a run of four goals in 3:27. During the same span, Madalon also made two point-blank one-on-one saves to not only keep the Tar Heels ahead but also allow the Heels to extend their lead
The Carolina penalty killers were at their best in the fourth quarter. UNC killed off an unsportsmanlike penalty period in the opening minute of the final quarter. Duke would cut the lead to 10-7 with 13:01 to play as Justin Turri's shot went off the pipe and snuck past Madalon. UNC answered, quickly, however, as Thomas Wood made an alley dodge down the right side and scored on his own at 11:03. Duke was extra-man for a minute and a half beginning at 9:47 but the Tar Heels killed off the penalty again.
UNC had another EMO after a slashing call on Tom Montelli at 5:48. Twenty-seven seconds later, Wood scored his fourth goal of the game, assisted by DeLaney. Wood then finished off the scoring for Carolina at 2:24 as he scored into an empty net, making the final score 13-7.
Carolina will have six days off before playing host to sixth-ranked Princeton (3-0) next Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Fetzer Field. That game will be webcast live on TarHeelBlue.com. Duke will play at No. 9 Loyola Saturday.
The match was worth one point in the 2009-10 Carlyle Cup standings, the all-sports trophy that the two teams compete for annually based on competition in 24 sports. UNC leads the current Cup standings 11 points to 6.5 points. UNC has won the Carlyle Cup five times, Duke three times and there has been one tie since its inaugural season of 2000-01.
Duke vs. North Carolina