After starting 0-2 in ACC play, the Carolina men’s lacrosse team was in a world of trouble. But now, the Tar Heels are No. 4 in the nation and will be playing for a potential No. 1 seed in the ACC Tournament when they take on No. 7 Syracuse this Saturday.
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Head Coach Joe Breschi couldn’t say enough positive things about the way his team played in a crucial ACC game against rival Virginia.
“I’m proud of our guys. Virginia is a terrific lacrosse team, top ten in the country. How hard we played for 60 minutes – we’ve been stressing that all year,” Coach Breschi says.
The ACC race is loaded with the ‘who’s who’ of college lacrosse. Each and every game seemingly features two top ten teams facing off.
Senior Frankie Kelly says the Virginia win provided the team with more of a sense of relief than jubilation. Kelly knew it was a must-win scenario.
Coach Breschi agrees. But he says it only makes this weekend’s game at Syracuse inside the Carrier Dome that much bigger.
“This was big. We’re now at 2-2. We feel pretty good with where we’re at. We have to go up to Syracuse now, and they’re fighting for their playoff life in the ACC. There’s a lot in front of us, but I’m just proud of taking another step forward,” Coach Breschi says.
Senior midfielder R.G. Keenan has supplied some timely late-game magic for the Tar Heels in his career. And Keenan will be hoping to hold a few more tricks up his sleeve as his playing days at Chapel Hill come to an end.
And as another lacrosse season winds down, Coach Breschi salutes the impact of Keenan, Kelly and the rest of the senior class.
“We got a great group of 12 seniors. They’ve done a wonderful job all year leading this group. To finish like this is wonderful for them,” Coach Breschi says.
One promising sign for the Tar Heels moving forward is the continued development of the defense. It was UNC’s stingy defense down the stretch that served as a catalyst to the victory over the Cavaliers.
The Tar Heels’ battle with the perennial powerhouse Orange will be a historic one. The two squads haven’t played each other since 1996. The collision is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday and will be nationally televised on ESPNU.