The Navy men's lacrosse team may have avoided the storm projected to hit the Annapolis area Thursday night, but the same could not be said for what North Carolina delivered.
The No. 3 Tar Heels scored the game's first six goals and pretty much had their way as they overwhelmed the No. 11 Midshipmen, 11-4, at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Navy senior attackman Gavin Petracca led all scorers with seven points on two goals and five assists, and senior midfielder Sean DeLaney added three goals and two assists for the Tar Heels, which improved to 4-0 for the third consecutive season.
A sparse crowd that braved freezing temperatures exacerbated by 40 MPH gusts watched as Navy (1-2) -- playing its first game without senior attackman Tim Paul -- struggled to gain some semblance of consistency and confidence on offense.
Paul will sit out the remainder of the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in last Saturday's 8-7 overtime loss to No. 10 Loyola, and it was evident that the Midshipmen missed his presence and skills.
Navy, which had committed 18 offensive turnovers against Loyola, nearly matched that total, coughing up the ball at least 12 times. As a team, the Midshipmen turned the ball over 22 times through the first three quarters. (By comparison, they surrendered the ball 24 times to the Greyhounds.)
That's a big reason why the offense took just 20 shots through the first three quarters compared to North Carolina's 32.
Both teams began slowly, as it appeared they were trying to adjust to the frenetic winds.
With 49 seconds left in the period, Tar Heels senior midfielder Cryder DiPietro found Petracca in the high slot for a goal. And then Petracca fed DeLaney streaking down the left alley for a score with one second left.
That goal opened the floodgates for North Carolina, which scored four goals over a span of 10 minutes, 34 seconds. Navy senior attackman Evan Sullivan's extra-man goal with 16 seconds left in the second quarter finally ended the run, but the Tar Heels opened the second half with four goals to put the game out of reach.
Notes: Entering the game, North Carolina junior faceoff specialist Michael Burns had won 19 of 31 (.613) faceoffs. But like Loyola's John Schiavone, Burns was largely neutralized by the Midshipmen duo of senior Robby Battle and sophomore Logan West, who combined to win 10 of 14 faceoffs through three quarters. ... Navy has won six of the past nine meetings, but the Tar Heels have now won three of the past four. Thursday night's victory was North Carolina's first in Annapolis since March 3, 2001. ... The Midshipmen have begun a season with two losses in their first three games for the first time since 2001, when that squad opened the season with three consecutive losses.