Virginia edges UNC in 2nd OT

Shure's goal at : 11 sends No. 1 Cavaliers into ACC final, 17-16

April 22, 2000|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- It seemed as if the wild Virginia lacrosse celebration would never end last night on the soggy grass at Byrd Stadium.

The No. 1-ranked Cavaliers had only done the expected, beating 12th-ranked North Carolina in the semifinals of the ACC tournament. They will meet Maryland, a 7-6 winner over Duke in tomorrow's 3: 30 p.m. final.

But, oh, what a tough path Virginia took to a 17-16 double-overtime victory over the charged-up Tar Heels in the highest-scoring game in ACC tournament history.

The Cavaliers had to come racing down the stretch in the final five minutes of regulation to force overtime and then had to overcome several strong North Carolina defensive stands to pull out the win on Ian Shure's goal with 11 seconds left in the second overtime.

"I don't even remember what we felt as we were celebrating," said Virginia's senior defenseman, Ryan Curtis. "I just know I was glad the game was over and we had won."

Curtis, son of former Baltimore Colts linebacker Mike, and his defensive mates were treated rudely by the heavy-underdog Tar Heels for 55 minutes and were down 16-13 when the game suddenly changed.

Curtis couldn't believe how his defense was getting beaten by the likes of freshman midfielder Austin Garrison, who had five goals to fuel the North Carolina run.

When asked if he was stunned by a freshman scoring five goals against a team that had not allowed more than eight since a season-opening loss to Syracuse, Curtis said: "I wondered where all those guys were coming from for North Carolina. I was lousy in the first half."

But it was Curtis, who, with 22 seconds left in the second overtime, helped set up Shure's winning goal.

Curtis converged on North Carolina's Chase Martin in front of the Virginia goal and helped knock the ball out of his stick, enabling sophomore defender Mark Koontz to come up with the ball.

Koontz raced up field and passed to Shure about 10 yards past midfield. Shure, a redshirt sophomore from Boys' Latin, raced untouched toward the goal.

"I knew I had to protect it and not think too much," said Shure, who sat out all last season with a knee injury and had a career-high four goals last night. "I've never scored a goal this big before, and it's a great feeling."

Shure scooped the ball past North Carolina goalkeeper Kris Blindenbacher to end the game in sudden death, ruining a 17-save performance by the standout sophomore keeper.

Shure loved every minute of his newfound status as a hero on a team that is usually led by the likes of Drew McKnight and Conor Gill.

"It's going to be fun going over to the tailgate with my family and friends," said Shure. "This will be a night to remember."

Blindenbacher was superb in the first overtime with three saves, and he made one big save in the second overtime for North Carolina (7-5), which was virtually knocked out of the NCAA tournament.

North Carolina coach Dave Klarmann, whose contract is not being renewed by the school, said: "I think the future is bright for this team despite what the administration thinks. I'm going to miss being around this program, but I won't miss the administration."

For Virginia (9-1), its ninth straight win came in the first double-overtime game in the 12-year history of the ACC tournament.

North Carolina 5 4 5 2 0 0 -- 16

Virginia 3 4 4 5 0 1 -- 17

Goals: NC--Garrison 5, Martin 2, Miller 2, Sonke 2, Chane, Crofton, Hammer, Jonas, Will; V--Shure 4, Hard 2, Jalbert 2, Jenkins 2, McKnight 2, Shannon 2, Gill, Holcomb, Whitty. Assists: NC--Sonke 3, Gormsen 2, Martin 2, Will 2, Crofton; V--Gill 3, Mohler 2, Curtis, Koontz, McKnight. Saves: NC--Blindenbacher 17; V--Kenney 6.

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