Despite being upset by Virginia, 13-12, in overtime on Saturday, North Carolina shares the No. 1 position with Princeton in The Baltimore Sun's top 10 lacrosse poll and still is considered by many coaches as the team to beat.
Virginia stopped the Tar Heels' 14-game regular-season winning streak, as senior attackman Kevin Pehlke, from Calvert Hall, scored the game-winning goal 1:13 into the four-minute overtime period.
A loss probably would have dropped any other team from the top spot, but the Tar Heels (9-1 overall, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) were without goalkeeper Billy Daye for the first time. He is out for the season with a broken sixth vertebra.
Plus, the Tar Heels already have beaten Johns Hopkins, Syracuse, Loyola and Princeton.
"I never thought there were any super teams out there," Virginia coach Dom Starsia said.
"There weren't any Paul and Gary Gaits leading a Syracuse-type team.
"It may sound like a cliche, but I always thought every team was beatable and on any given Saturday, one team could beat another," Starsia said.
"North Carolina, though, is still the team to beat. They have beaten some quality teams and have earned their position at the top."
Loyola coach Dave Cottle said: "North Carolina is a different team without Daye, but they still are the fastest team with two, good solid defensemen that can take any attackman out of a game. They ride so well, and they're going to get their share of goals, so I would still make them the favorites."
North Carolina senior defenseman Alex Martin put Daye's injury into perspective after the Virginia game.
Daye was injured during a first-quarter collision last week against Johns Hopkins. Daye missed 17 minutes of that game, but returned in the third quarter.
"Who really cares if we are the same team with or without Billy Daye?" Martin said. "The important thing is that he's still alive, he's still walking. He came close to having a great deal of his daily life taken away."
Shots don't win
Loyola took 49 shots against Hofstra Friday night, but was still upset, 13-12. The loss dropped Loyola's record to 3-3, and Hofstra, considered a potential playoff team, improved to 5-1.
"We had five or six pipes, and one goal taken away because of a penalty," Cottle said. "Actually, I thought we played well, and so did Hofstra. We've only got six seniors on our team, and a lot of our mistakes are made from inexperience. What we have to do is improve on our shot selection and finish our chances."
Johns Hopkins had an easy time with Army Saturday, beating the Cadets, 17-9, but the Blue Jays will have a tougher game against Maryland Friday night. Blue Jays coach Tony Seaman has not beaten Terps coach Dick Edell in his two years at Johns Hopkins.
Around the crease
The Charles Street Massacre series starts again Wednesday night when Loyola travels to Johns Hopkins. The Blue Jays hold a 29-0 advantage in the series. . . . Pehlke finished the game against Carolina with four goals and two assists to break Virginia's all-time scoring record. "It's a great honor to get the scoring record and it's a great honor to beat North Carolina on the same day," Pehlke said.