No. 3 North Carolina swamps No. 11 Navy men, 11-4

Tar Heels scores first 6 goals, sink Mids

February 26, 2010|By Edward Lee | edward.lee@baltsun.com

The Navy men's lacrosse team might 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 as they overwhelmed the No. 11 Midshipmen, 11-4, at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

North Carolina 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, who improved to 4-0 for the third consecutive season.

An announced 1,461 braved freezing temperatures and 40-mph gusts to watch Navy (1-2) - playing its first game without senior attackman Tim Paul - struggle to gain some semblance of consistency or confidence on the offensive end.

Paul will sit out the rest of the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in Saturday's 8-7 overtime loss to No. 10 Loyola. Without him, the starting attack of senior Brendan Connors, junior Andy Warner and sophomore Ryan O'Leary did not record a single point.

"We've got to all get on the same page," said Connors, who had as many turnovers (two) as shots. "Timmy was a big, big part of the offense. Timmy got hurt on Saturday, and we only had three or four days to prepare. I think once we have a few more days, we'll be able to start clicking. It's just big shoes to fill. So it's going to take more than three or four days to fill those shoes."

The Midshipmen committed 24 turnovers, as many as they had in the loss to the Greyhounds. That statistic was more telling to coach Richie Meade than Paul's absence.

"Certainly, Timmy would have helped us if he was playing 100 percent, but we're making mistakes here and there that are really costing us," Meade said. "We're too anxious. Instead of just being relaxed and dealing with what's going on, we're all trying to make plays, we're all trying to do great things, and it's almost like they're over-trying."

Both teams began slowly as it appeared they were trying to adjust to the frenetic winds.

But 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.

North Carolina coach Joe Breschi said the two goals at the end of the first quarter sparked the offensive explosion.

"Late in the first quarter, we were able to punch two home, and I think that gave our offense some confidence," he said. "The first two weeks, [we] were struggling a little bit, but then kind of got into a rhythm last weekend and continued from the end of the first."

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 11 of 16 faceoffs. Burns finished with five of 15 faceoffs. … 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. N.Carolina 2 4 5 0 - 11Navy 0 1 1 2 - 4Goals: NC-Holman 4, DeLaney 3, Petracca 2, Wood 2; N-Cook, Daratsos, Lennon, Sullivan. Assists: NC-Petracca 5, Bitter 3, DeLaney 2, DiPietro; N-Moran 2. Saves: NC-Madalon 13; N-Wickham 14.

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