April 24, 2009

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The eighth-ranked University of North Carolina men's lacrosse squad benefitted from its highest scoring output in the ACC Tournament since 2000 as first-year head coach Joe Breschi led the Tar Heels into Sunday's championship game of the 2009 ACC Men's Lacrosse Championship.

That game will be played at 3:30 p.m. Sunday after the Tar Heels whipped 11th-ranked Maryland 16-10 in the first semifinal game at Kenan Stadium Friday evening. A crowd of 3,675 fans was on hand for the game.

Carolina, the tournament's No. 4 seed, improved to 11-4 on the season heading into Sunday's title game against No. 2 seed Duke after the Blue Devils defeated No. 3 seed Virginia . It will be UNC's first title-game appearance since the 1996 season as the Tar Heels broke a 12-game losing streak in ACC Tournament action with its first win in tourney since April 21, 1996 when the Heels beat Virginia 13-11 in the championship game at Charlottesville, Va. Maryland, the tournament's No. 1 seed, falls to 8-6 on the season and will play its final regular-season game next weekend at Yale.

The Tar Heels shot with great accuracy Friday in scoring 16 goals on 39 shots, including 24 which were on net. Carolina had four different players score three goals apiece as sophomore attackman Billy Bitter, senior midfielder Ben Hunt, senior attackman Bart Wagner and junior attackman Gavin Petracca all racked up hat tricks. All four of those players also had assists with Bitter recording two and Hunt, Petracca and Wagner each having one. Senior attackman Matthias McCall, freshman midfielder Jimmy Dunster and junior midfielder Sean Burke each had a goal and an assist for the victorious Tar Heels. Junior midfielder Sean Delaney had the other Carolina goal and senior midfielder Bobby McAuley had an assist.

The 16 goals were the most scored by the Tar Heels against the Terrapins since March 23, 1996 when Carolina downed the Terps 17-16 at Fetzer Field. Going into the game Maryland was ranked seventh in the nation in scoring defense, allowing only 7.31 goals per game.

The Terrapins were led by Joe Cummings who had three goals while Travis Reed added two tallies for head coach Dave Cottle's team. Ryan Young had a goal and two assists for the Terps and Scott Tompkins and Warren Hansen each had a goal and an assist.

The Tar Heels outshot the Terrapins 39-34 on the game and for the 15th time in 15 games this season the Tar Heels won the ground ball battle by a margin of 42-34. Each team won 14 face-offs as Maryland's Brynn Holmes did a good job neutralizing Carolina's Shane Walterhoefer. Holmes finished with 14 face-off wins while Walterhoefer had the same number for the Heels.

True freshman James Petracca went the whole way in goal for the Heels as he played 60 minutes and made nine saves while allowing 10 goals. Maryland alternated two goalkeepers during the game with starter Jason Carter playing 33:25 and allowing 10 goals while making four saves. Brian Phipps made four saves and allowed six goals in 26:35.