In four OTs, Navy tops UNC this time

Mids' 9-8 victory comes after 6-OT loss last year

Heels tie in last second

College Lacrosse

March 01, 2003|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

Navy shed its close-call blues in style last night and avenged a landmark 2002 men's lacrosse defeat.

Eddy Holton's goal with 2:13 left in the fourth overtime lifted No. 12 Navy to a 9-8 victory over No. 6 North Carolina at Rip Miller Field in Annapolis.

Coach Richie Meade's Mids had won only two of his 13 previous one-goal decisions. Three of the losses had come against the Tar Heels, and the most galling came last year in Chapel Hill, N.C., a six-overtime setback in the longest college game ever.

"I didn't acknowledge it last season, but it was very difficult for us to come back from that loss," Meade said. "Obviously, beating a program at that level, something we haven't done in three years, is going to help us in the big picture."

The Mids last beat a Top 10-caliber foe in 1999.

Navy (3-0) will still be on a high a week from today, when it begins Eastern College Athletic Conference play at Massachusetts, the defending ECAC champion.

Navy fell behind 2-0 yesterday and played nearly eight minutes before attempting a shot.

But then the Mids went on a five-goal run, benefiting from strong play from sophomore goalie Seth DiNola.

They took an 8-6 lead into the final five minutes of regulation play.

North Carolina (2-1), however, got a goal from Kyle Bell (Loyola) and then tied the score at 8 on an extra-man score from Andrew Lucas (Gilman) with just three-tenths of a second remaining in regulation.

DiNola logged fewer than 12 minutes last season, when he was the understudy to Jon Higdon. Last night's extra time took 13:47.

"I just saw Jon and told him I was having flashbacks to last year's game," DiNola said. "He played out of his head last year."

DiNola, who had 12 saves in regulation, weathered four shots in the first overtime, but then the Tar Heels lost some steam.

Working behind the crease, plebe Ian Dingman fed an open Holton on the crease, and goalie Paul Spellman (St. Paul's) was helpless to stop him.

"Ian made a great look," said Holton, who has undergone five ankle surgeries and nearly lost a leg to an infection in one of them. "I dunked it in the bottom left side."

Ben Bailey was the only Mid with two goals. Sophomore Jed Prossner (McDonogh) had three, including two in the fourth quarter, for North Carolina, which out-shot Navy 42-32.

"You've got to cash in when you've got the opportunities," said Tar Heels coach John Haus, who started two freshmen and four sophomores. "We weren't getting the ball off the ground, and we weren't taking care of the ball when we had it."

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