UNC beats odds, UVa for ACC title Top scorer out, Heels win on Cavs' home field, 13-11

April 22, 1996|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,SUN STAFF

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Their leading scorer stood on the sideline in shorts and a T-shirt, leaning on crutches and wearing a plastic bag over the cast that covered his broken right ankle. And they were playing on the field where their opponent hadn't lost in its past 15 games.

The North Carolina Tar Heels had enough to overcome before yesterday's Atlantic Coast Conference lacrosse tournament final. Then, they added to their troubles with a horrendous first quarter, mis-connecting on passes and falling behind Virginia by four goals.

It was enough to fluster just about any team, but it wasn't enough to deny North Carolina another championship.

Getting a superb effort from junior goalkeeper Brooks Brown, the fourth-ranked Tar Heels defeated No. 3 Virginia, 13-11, before 2,651 at Klockner Stadium for their eighth ACC title in nine years.

Brown, who grew up in Potomac, was mobbed by his teammates after his 19-save masterpiece. But they gave him enough room to accept the trophy as Most Valuable Player.

"I'm real happy for the senior class. They've been the heart and soul of this team for the last three years. I feel great," he said.

He felt more comfortable once Carolina (12-3) went to a zone after the first quarter, which ended with Virginia leading 6-3. Brown said he began seeing the ball better, and he saw it often, as the Cavaliers outshot the Tar Heels, 60-40.

"I knew they were going to shoot," he said. "That's what Virginia does. They keep coming at you.

"When we went zone, they were taking a lot of shots from 15 yards out and I've got to make those saves or I'm coming out of the game."

Said Carolina coach Dave Klarmann: "Anyone who wants to play Virginia man-to-man, good luck."

Brown was protecting a two-goal lead going into the last quarter. Virginia's David Curry scored at 5: 39, but the Cavaliers (9-3), who were seeded third, were silenced over the next seven minutes. Carolina, the top seed, got goals from senior attackmen Mark Phillips and Brendan Carey to remain in front.

Virginia missed junior attackman Doug Knight down the stretch. He had four goals and two assists before injuring his shoulder two minutes into the fourth quarter.

That took away whatever advantage the Cavaliers had with Carolina's Merrill Turnbull in street clothes. Turnbull broke his ankle during Friday night's 18-8 win over No. 11 Duke.

Knight's injury and a strained back that hampered Virginia's sophomore goalkeeper Chris Sanderson (13 saves) "didn't have a bearing on how we played. No excuses on that front," said Cavaliers coach Dom Starsia, whose team hasn't won an ACC title since 1986. "We had some good chances at the end and their goalie played very well. We got beat by a team that played better than us."

Maryland freshman attackman Scott Hochstadt was named to the all-tournament team. He scored three goals in Friday night's 13-9 loss to Virginia.

Pub Date: 4/22/96

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