April 20, 2012
In a closely-contested game that featured multiple lead changes, North Carolina outlasted Virginia 11-9 to advance to the 2012 ACC Men’s Lacrosse Championship Game. Steele Stanwick had seven points for the Cavaliers and became the program's all-time leading scorer in the process. Marcus Holman led UNC with three goals and freshman Joey Sankey added five points with two goals and three assists.
The first three quarters of the game were a back-and-forth affair that featured four lead changes and never saw either team have more than a one-goal lead. Colin Briggs and Steele Stanwick of Virginia each had two goals in the first three quarters while Sankey and Holman did the same for the Tar Heels. It was Holman’s goal with 2:46 left in the third quarter that put Tar Heels ahead 7-6—a lead they would never relinquish.
North Carolina seized control of the match in the middle of the fourth quarter with three unanswered goals that extended the lead to 11-7 on Holman’s third goal of the night with 1:55 remaining in the game. Virginia netted two quick goals to cut the lead to 11-9, but the Tar Heels held on for the victory.
The final marked the first time North Carolina has defeated Virginia since 2004 and the first time North Carolina has advanced to the ACC Championship Game since 2009. The Tar Heels will now face Duke, who they also faced in the 2009 ACC Championship Game, on Sunday at 3 p.m.