E. RUTHERFORD, N.J.—Virginia used a 7-1 run to erase a 4-goal deficit and rally for an 11-10 win over North Carolina this afternoon at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

With the win the top-ranked Cavaliers move to 12-0 overall this season and 2-0 in the ACC. The win is the Cavaliers’ third 1-goal win in a row, the first time in school history that has happened. Overall it is their fourth 1-goal game of the spring.

North Carolina, ranked 10th, lost for the third time in its last four games and is now 8-4 this season and 0-3 in the ACC.

“We’re certainly happy to get the win,” said Virginia head coach Dom Starsia. “I’m proud of my team. We’ve had a lot of tough games; it’s really hard to win.”

Virginia attackmen Garrett Billings and Danny Glading opened the scoring with early goals as the Cavaliers opened a quick 2-0 lead with barely three minutes played.

The Cavaliers’ lead held for several minutes before the Tar Heels rattled off the next five goals over the next 20 minutes to build a 7-3 lead midway through the second quarter. Billy Bitter scored three of his game-high five goals to highlight the run.

“I thought (North) Carolina carried the play to us early,” Starsia said. “The first couple of minutes I thought we came out and we looked okay and I thought Carolina turned the game around and kind of carried the play to us for about 15 or 20 minutes.”

Sophomore midfielder Shamel Bratton single handedly brought the Cavaliers back with three straight goals to draw Virginia within one goal (7-6) at halftime. For his performance Bratton was named the game’s MVP.

The Tar Heels suffered a big loss when starting goalie Grant Zimmerman appeared to injure his knee at the 9:57 mark of the second quarter. At the time of his injury, North Carolina held a 5-2 lead. He made seven saves before getting injured and did not return. His replacement, freshman James Petracca, recorded 11 saves in the most extensive action of his young career.

“I thought about midway through the second quarter we kind of got back to it again,” said Starsia. “When we were down 7-3, I never thought we lost our poise and I would say that that’s probably as defining a characteristic of this team as anything else.”

Brian Carroll tied the score less than a minute-and-a-half into the second half with the first of his two third-quarter goals. John Haldy scored for fifth time in the last six games with nine minutes and 32 seconds remaining in the third quarter to give the Cavaliers an 8-7 lead. His goal was Virginia’s fifth in a row over a little more than 11 minutes.

Bitter scored his only goal of the second half in an unsettled situation in front of the Cavalier goal to knot the score at eight at the 3:46 mark of the third quarter. After scoring four first-half goals, the Virginia coaching staff made a defensive switch and assigned Matt Kelly to him and limited him to the lone goal.

Carroll gave the Cavaliers the lead for good by knocking in a rebound of a Steele Stanwick miss past Petracca with 1:58 remaining in the quarter. Carroll’s goal was UVa’s third off a rebound in the game.

Glading stretched the lead to two goals at 10-8 14 seconds into the final quarter with a remarkable one-handed shot from the left side.

Gavin Petracca, older brother of goalie James, got free on the crease and took a pass from Sean Burke to score his only goal of the game with 10 and a half minutes remaining as North Carolina again cut UVa’s lead to one (10-9).

Billings extended the lead to two goals by taking a pass in front from Shamel Bratton and easily depositing the ball into the back of the net.

Wagner’s second extra-man goal of the game with 8:05 left to play enabled the Tar Heels to close within one at 11-10. Virginia goalie Adam Ghitelman recorded two saves in the final 30 seconds, including one with a second left, to enable his team to win. Ghitelman notched 11 saves in the game.

Virginia returns to action next Saturday against Duke in Durham. The game is set to face off at 4 pm and will be televised by ESPN2.

Photography by Zach Babo.

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Billy Bitter
    by (#109373) on 4/04/09 @8:11PM
Seriously, if he were to step up like he did today, NC would destroy every team they played. Bitter>Bratton.
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Bad luck...Again
    by (#108912) on 4/04/09 @9:51PM
I swear we are cursed. Something bad has to happen every time we are about to win an ACC game. Grant Zimmerman went down along with 2 of our starting close D men. I honestly think Grant Zimmerman getting hurt was a momentum change in UVA's favor. I am by no means say that James Petracca did a bad job, he was excellent for a freshman goalie getting thrown into the thick of it. He did especially well against the #1 UVA team that has so many threats on offense. I think his performance and that of Billy Bitters is something positive that us UNC fans can pull out of a disappointing loss. I just have to say Billy Bitter in his senior year = sick nasty.
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I completely agree
    by (#109373) on 4/04/09 @10:03PM
If Zimmerman didn't get hurt NC would have upset Virginia.
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    by (#129058) on 4/05/09 @10:44AM
I spent the entire day yesterday indulging myself in lacrosse. I spent the whole day at the Meadowlands watching all three games, and this game was by far the best game of the day. UNC was in the driver's seat in this game, they had total control over the number one team in the country...until Zimmerman went down. The was absolutely the turning point in this game; without the loss of Zimmerman, there is no doubt in my mind that UNC would have taken down the giant that is UVA. They lost a D-man early, but were not set back, his replacement still helping control UVA's firepower. But the loss of UNC's starting keeper was a real shot for the Heels. I totally agree that Petracca was excellent, for a freshman taking the stage against the number one team in front of what ended up being over 20,000 spectators for the day. And even though Virginia went on the run, UNC fought sooooo hard to stay in the game, almost tying it to force OT at the end. UVA escaped this one, they barely took down the team that just one week ago defeated Hopkins.
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Oh yeah...
    by (#129058) on 4/05/09 @10:45AM
Bitter was out of his friggin mind yesterday, he is a beast around the crease. Bobbin and weavin to the door step and finishing like a pro.
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Latest Statement Game For UNC
    by (#136419) on 4/05/09 @12:36PM
This is the latest statement from UNC that they are soon going to be a freaking beast with Breschi at the helm. And, even though they lost, I think this game could be a confidence-builder for them. They went wire-to-wire with a team that has so much more talent WITHOUT having their starting goalie for the majority of the time.
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