CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Seventh-ranked Duke raced to a five-goal halftime lead and that proved to be the difference as the Blue Devils defeated No. 8 North Carolina 14-9 in men's lacrosse action Thursday night at Fetzer Field. The loss ended a 17-game winning streak at Fetzer Field for the Tar Heels dating back to the final game of the 2008 season.
Duke is now 10-1 in its last 11 games against the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill as it continued its mastery of the 15-501 Bypass series dating back to 1995. The Blue Devils have also won 13 of the past 14 meetings between the two teams dating back to a three-game winning streak by the Tar Heels from 2002-04.
Jordan Wolf led Duke with four goals. The Blue Devils thrived on individual matchups Thursday night, getting 14 goals on just five assists with three of their five assists on man-up goals. Duke scored nine of their 11 even-man goals without the benefit of an assist.
Besides Wolf, Duke got two goals each from Christian Walsh, Justin Turri and Josh Dionne. Zach Howell had a goal and two assists for the Blue Devils who improved to 5-2 overall and 2-0 in the ACC.
Carolina fell to 5-2 with the loss and 0-1 in the ACC. Billy Bitter returned to form tonight for the Tar Heels, scoring three goals and adding an assist while Thomas Wood had two goals and an assist and Marcus Holman had two goals. Nicky Galasso had a goal and an assist.
While Carolina took 40 shots to only 31 for Duke, the Blue Devils were simply more efficient. Twenty-two of their 31 shots were on cage with UNC goalkeeper Chris Madalon making eight saves. On the other side of the ledger, UNC placed onky 20 of 40 shots on frame. Dan Wigrizer made 11 saves for the Blue Devils and Carolina hit the pipe seven times in the match.
Freshman R.G. Keenan matched his career high for face-offs won in a game with 18, including a 12-14 performance in the second half. But even with the edge at the X, the Tar Heels were dominated by Duke in the ground ball area. Duke had 36 ground balls to 23 for UNC. The Tar Heels had a similar ground ball deficit in their other loss this season at Ohio State, 32-18. Sixteen different Blue Devils had ground balls in the game led by C.J. Costabile with five.
The two teams traded goals in the opening 1:26 of the match before Jordan Wolf started a four-goal run the Tar Heels would not recover from. Wolf's goal at 8:58 of the first quarter and 8:08 of the second quarter bookended the four-goal run that put Duke up 5-1.
Carolina fought back to 5-3 on goals by Nicky Galasso with 7:32 left in the second quarter and Billy Bitter with 6:06 left but that was as close as the Heels would get. Duke scored three goals in the last 5:23 of the first half, including two man-up goals by Josh Dionne to build a five-goal halftime lead.
After losing the ground ball battle 17-7 in the first half, the Tar Heels found more resolve in the second half but they had just built themselves too big a hole before the rowdy crowd of 2,618 fans.
Thomas Wood scored with 8:16 left in the period off an assist by Billy Bitter and a little over a minute later Pat Foster scored an unassisted extra-man goal to cut the lead to 8-5. Bitter appeared to have scored on the next possession but he was ruled to have stepped in the crease before his shot crossed the line.
Duke took advantage to seize the momentum back, going on a 6-2 scoring run to mke the score 14-7 with 3:10 to play in the fourth quarter. Zach Howell restored a four-goal lead at 4:18 of the third quarter and after Bitter scored 15 seconds later, Duke responded with goals by Christian Walsh and Justin Turri to stretch the lead out to 11-6 with 11:36 to play in the game. The two teams then traded goals the rest of the way.
The loss was the first for the Tar Heels at Fetzer Field during Coach Joe Breschi's coaching tenure although the Blue Devils did beat Carolina twice at Kenan Stadium in 2009. The 17-game winning streak began with the first game of the 2009 season. The last loss at Fetzer had come on May 10, 2008 when the Tar Heels lost to Navy 8-7 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Tar Heels will return to action next Tuesday when they play host to Dartmouth at 7 p.m. at Fetzer Field. The game will be nationally televised by ESPNU.
The game was worth one point in the 2010-11 Battle of the Blues sponsored by Continental Tire. The trophy goes to the all-sports winner between the two schools with competition in 23 sports. UNC leads this year's competition 9-8.
North Carolina vs. Duke
|Jordan Wolf||(4, 0)|
|Zach Howell||(1, 2)|
|Christian Walsh||(2, 1)|
|Josh Dionne||(2, 0)|
|Justin Turri||(2, 0)|
|Tom Rynn||(0, 1)|
|Robert Rotanz||(1, 0)|
|Josh Offit||(1, 0)|
|David Lawson||(1, 0)|
|Jake Tripucka||(0, 1)|