NCAA tournament Navy 8, North Carolina 7

Mids take first step, beat UNC

Paul scores 4 as Navy halts three-game skid

May 11, 2008|By Evan Markfield | Evan Markfield,Special to The Sun

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- It took three days short of a full year, but Navy finally got its revenge against North Carolina.

Sophomore attackman Tim Paul scored a career-high four goals to lead the Midshipmen past fourth-seeded North Carolina, 8-7, last night in a first-round NCAA tournament game at Fetzer Field.

The win ended the Mids' three-game losing streak that almost kept them out of the tournament field and at the same time avenged a 12-8 loss to the Tar Heels here in the first round of last year's NCAA tournament.

"Last year when we came down here, I didn't think we played with the passion and hunger we needed to win," Navy coach Richie Meade said. "We all looked at [this game] as an opportunity to show what kind of program we have. Everyone was determined that we were going to play a great game to show we appreciated getting the opportunity and that we were worthy of it."

Goalkeeper Tommy Phelan had 12 saves for Navy (10-5), which opened a 4-1 lead and never trailed.

The Midshipmen led 7-4 heading into the fourth quarter, but that couldn't have been much comfort after being outscored 5-1 by the Tar Heels in the final period of last year's NCAA tournament loss.

This time, though, Navy held on - literally.

With 10 minutes remaining in the game, Navy's coaches could be heard screaming, "Hold the ball!" from the sideline.

The Mids were outscored 3-1 in the fourth, but this time they advanced - for the first time since 2005 after two straight first-round exits.

"I was looking in the seniors' eyes, and I know how disappointing the loss [last year] was for them," Phelan said. "There was no way I could let them go out like that."

The Tar Heels cut the lead to 7-6 before Navy senior attackman Nick Mirabito stole a pass in front of Carolina's open net and put in the easiest goal of the day with 5:14 to go.

That was the last of three gift goals the Tar Heels handed Navy.

Zack Schroeder made it 3-1 in the second quarter when a ball scooted all the way through the midfield, past a North Carolina defender and right to him for an easy ground ball and shot.

The Mids got another break when UNC goalkeeper Grant Zimmerman (13 saves) attempted to clear and instead threw the ball right at Gregory Clement, who quickly beat Zimmerman up high to stretch the lead to 4-1 with 3:33 to go in the first half.

They scored [three] goals because we threw the ball to their guy," UNC coach John Haus said. "That's probably the difference in the game."

The Midshipmen advanced to play Saturday in Annapolis against the winner of today's game between Johns Hopkins and Hofstra.

Navy 2 2 3 1 - 8

North Carolina 0 3 1 3 - 7

Goals: N-Paul 4, Clement, Higgins, Mirabito, Schroeder; NC-Petracca 3, Wagner 2, Hunt, Tintle. Assists: N-Lennon, Mirabito, Moran; NC-Tintle 2, Wagner, Walterhoefer. Saves: N-Phelan 12; NC-Zimmerman 13.

NCAA lacrosse

First round

Yesterday

Maryland 10, Denver 7

Navy 8, North Carolina 7

Duke 12, Loyola 7

Ohio State 15, Cornell 7 Today

Colgate at Notre Dame, noon

Hofstra at Johns Hopkins, 2:30 p.m.

UMBC at Virginia, 5 p.m.

Canisius at Syracuse, 7:30 p.m. TV: All games on ESPNU

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