After three failed attempts during the past two years, the men’s lacrosse team finally found a way to beat North Carolina.
The No. 3 Blue Devils (7-0, 2-0 in the ACC) defeated the No. 15 Tar Heels (1-4, 0-1) Saturday at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill by a score of 12-10. The win propels Duke to the top of the four-team ACC lacrosse league and extends the Blue Devils’ best start since 1998, when they opened the season with nine straight wins.
“This win ranks up there with our best,” sophomore attack Matt Danowski said. “Even though UNC isn’t ranked very high, they still have a very good team. Duke-UNC is always going to be a good game and it’s a great rivalry.”
Midfielder Peter Lamade led the Blue Devils with four goals. The Chevy Chase, Md., native kept his team in the game by opening the second half with back-to-back goals that tied the score at 6-6.
“We certainly got a huge lift from Peter Lamade,” head coach Mike Pressler said. “We were really impatient last week against Loyola, and I thought we did a pretty good job of staying patient on offense today as Carolina slowed things down.”
Two quick goals put the Tar Heels up 8-6 with nine minutes remaining in the third quarter, but Duke put the game away with a 6-0 run. Six different Blue Devils found the back of the net during the scoring deluge.
“I don’t think we were too worried,” sophomore defenseman Nick O’Hara said. “We had just scored two in a row. We knew we were capable of striking at any time.”
Duke’s balanced attack came to the rescue of the Blue Devils’ leading scorer, Zack Greer. The freshman was stymied by the Tar Heel defense, finishing the game with a single goal.
“Greer was shut off for almost the entire game,” said Danowski, who faced similar defensive pressure last season. “He was smart with his shots, he didn’t try to force anything. Teams who have scouted him are going to stop him from touching the ball, because every time he touches the ball he scores. They did a good job of shutting him off, but the other guys scored eventually.”
Despite giving up 10 goals, the Duke defense limited North Carolina’s offensive chances.
“I think our whole defense played well,” O’Hara said. “We held [Jed] Prossner to one goal, and he’s supposed to be one the best attackmen in the country. We kept their big guys out of the game.”
The win over the Tar Heels was the Blue Devils’ second spring break victory. Duke defeated Loyola 6-5 at Koskinen Stadium March 12.
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