In a game that was close from start to finish, the North Carolina men's lacrosse team came away with an 11-10 win over Virginia on Saturday afternoon at Fetzer Field.
UNC's R.G. Keenan scored with 2:28 left in the game, breaking the 10-10 tie and securing the win for the Tar Heels.
The Cavaliers, who were ranked 8th in the latest polls, fall to 8-4 on the year and 1-3 in the ACC.
"This is the best team that we've played to date," head coach Dom Starsia said of the Tar Heels after the game. "To come down here today and probably play our best, most complete game, it is something to be proud of. We've won some important games where we felt like we didn't put our best food forward necessarily. Today we played very well."
After UNC jumped out to a 3-1 lead, UVa's Mark Cockerton scored at the 9:51 mark in the second quarter to start a 3-1 UVa run. Ryan Tucker scored at 5:59 in the second period on a Chris LaPierre assist to cap the run and tie the game, 4-4. With the 'Hoos trailing before the half, Cockerton scored to tie the game at 5 heading into the intermission.
James Pannell scored to give UVa its first lead of the game at the 14:01 mark in the third quarter, putting the 'Hoos up 6-5. North Carolina tied the game, 6-6, with 9:22 left in the third period. The momentum shifted back to UVa when Pat Harbeson scored an unassisted goal at 7:55 to give Virginia a 7-6 lead.
Goals by Shane Simpson and Luke Goldstock gave UNC an 8-7 advantage with 5:28 left in the third quarter. Cockerton scored again at 4:07 to tie the game. After Pannell was charged with tripping with 1:31 left in the third quarter, Walker Chafee scored with 1:01 left in the period on the extra-man situation, capping the third quarter scoring. UNC entered the final frame with a 9-8 lead.
Cockerton and Greg Coholan scored UVa’s only goals of the fourth quarter, but took the 10-8 lead with 3:38 left. Steve Pontrello tied the game for UNC, 10-10, with 2:33 left. Keenan won the ensuing faceoff to set up his game-winning goal with 2:28 remaining.
"It's tough the way we ended, but we had a couple chances to put it away and tie it up and we just didn't make the plays," said Cockerton, who led the Cavaliers with four goals and an assist. "I think it was a step forward definitely for our team. That's a great team that we played, and I think we played great."
UVa won the battle of shots (41-36), ground balls (36-30), faceoffs (14-11) and saves (13-11).
UVa returns to action on Friday when Duke comes to Klöckner Stadium. Faceoff is set for 6 p.m.