April 14, 2010

CHAPEL HILL - The University of North Carolina women's lacrosse team was held scoreless for nearly the entire first half but rallied with a strong second half and defeated Duke, 9-6, on Wednesday evening at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill.

Duke controlled possession with a deliberate attack early and Carolina didn't score a goal for the first 24:28 of the game before scoring twice late in the first half. The Tar Heels scored six consecutive goals to start the second half and seize control of the contest.

Carolina was led by Becky Lynch's three goals and one assist while Corey Donohoe had two goals and an assist. Emily Garrity scored twice for UNC, Laura Zimmerman had a goal and an assist and Megan Bosica scored one goal. Duke got three goals from Kat Thomas and a goal and two assists from Christie Kaestner. Lindsay Gilbride and Sarah Bullard scored a goal apiece for Duke.

The win improved second-ranked Carolina to 12-1 this season, 4-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference at the close of regular-season conference play. Fourth-ranked Duke falls to 11-4, 2-3 in the ACC. Wednesday's win was worth one point for UNC in the standings for the 2009-10 Carlyle Cup, the annual multisport competition between Carolina and Duke. The Tar Heels now lead the Blue Devils, 12.5 to 8.5 in the race for the 2009-10 cup.

Duke controlled possession for much of the early portion of the game, leading 2-0 after 16 minutes of action. Gilbride scored the Blue Devils' first goal off a pass from Christie Kaestner at 21:44. Sarah Bullard followed with a free position goal at 13:54.

Carolina finally got on the board at the 5:32 mark on an unassisted goal from Lynch, who wrapped around the top of the eight-meter arc from left to right and put it in the net. Lynch scored again 17 seconds later on a fast break off the ensuing draw. Lynch took a pass from Donohoe, stutter-stepped and scored for a 2-2 tie. Kaestner scored unassisted 17 seconds later for a 3-2 Duke lead.

In the second half, Carolina ripped off six straight goals to seize control of the game. Zimmerman scored unassisted at the 27:46 mark to tie the score at 3-3, racing straight down the middle of the middle for the score. Carolina took its first lead of the game at the 23:17 mark when Lynch dished to Garrity for a 4-3 lead. Bosica put UNC up 5-3 with an unassisted goal with 20:49 left in the second half, and Lynch's third goal followed three minutes later for a 6-3 lead with 17:55 to play, forcing a Duke timeout.

Garrity scored her second goal of the night, this time off a pass from Zimmerman, scoring at 16:17 for a 7-3 UNC advantage. Donohoe's unassisted goal was UNC's sixth in a row to start the second half, making it 8-3 with 13:29 to play.

Thomas scored on a free position try with 10:37 left to break the Tar Heels' scoring run and cut the UNC lead to 8-4. Donohoe scored her second goal in a row for Carolina to put UNC back up by five goals at 9-4 with 5:55 left. Thomas scored again at 4:47 off a pass from Kaestner to make the score 9-5 UNC. Thomas scored again, this time on a free position try, with 2:28 left to make it 9-6.

Kristen Carr suffered a cut lip in the first half, leaving the game for much of the opening period before returning to start the second half.

Logan Ripley played well in goal once again for Carolina, holding Duke to six goals and making five saves. Kaitlin Gaiss went the distance in the cage for Duke, allowing nine goals and tallying four saves.

Carolina is now tied with Virginia at 4-1 in ACC play with both schools have completed regular season ACC games for 2010. Maryland is 3-1 with a home game remaining against Virginia Tech. If Maryland beats the Hokies, then it will be a three-way tie for first place atop the ACC standings. Seeding for next weekend's ACC Tournament in College Park, Md., would come down to goal differential since UNC, UVa and Maryland all went 1-1 against each other in the 2010 regular season.

The Tar Heels will return to action on Sunday afternoon when they play at No. 1-ranked Northwestern at 1 p.m. Eastern Time in Evanston, Ill.