Tenacious Tar Heel Men’s Lax Fights For ACC Supremacy This Weekend

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.


Senior Day for Tar Heel Men’s Lacrosse

The No. 5 North Carolina men’s lacrosse team, 8-2 overall and 1-2 in conference, will take on No. 8 Virginia, 8-3 on the season and 1-2 in ACC play, Saturday at 3 p.m. for Senior Day in Chapel Hill.

The Tar Heels are riding a three-game winning streak into the border battle while Virginia lost to former No. 1 Maryland last weekend.

Saturday will be the 71st meeting between UNC and UVA. The teams have met in the regular season every year since the 1964 season.

Virginia leads the all-time series 47-23, but Carolina has won three matches in a row against the Cavaliers.

The 3 p.m. game at Fetzer Field will be nationally televised on ESPNU.


Carrboro Mid State Basketball Tournament Runs Cut Short

The Carrboro Jaguars’ tournament runs were cut short Thursday night, and now they await state tournament seeding.

The boys fell for the third time this season to Graham, 65-46. The Red Devils move on for a much easier contest than originally expected in the final as the No. 1 seed, regular-season-undefeated, Cummings, was knocked out by No. 4 seed Jordan-Matthews.

The 2A Mid State title will be decided Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Burlington.

The Carrboro girls fell to Cummings, 70-50. The Jaguars and Cavaliers split the regular season, but Carrboro couldn’t overcome the home-court advantage Thursday night.

The Cavaliers host the Reidsville Rams Friday at 6:00 p.m. for the 2A Mid State championship.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association announces state tournament seedings Saturday. The Carrboro boys are 15-8 and finished with a 6-4 record in conference play; the girls finished the season 7-17 overall.


No. 11 UNC Women’s Basketball Holds On For Fourth-Straight, 80-74

The No. 11 UNC women’s basketball team stifled a sluggish first half and pulled away from Virginia, holding on late for an 80-74 win in Charlottesville Thursday night.

Hot shooting off the bench kept the Tar Heels in the game early. N’Dea Bryant shot 4-4 in the first half after starting on the sideline. Stephanie Mavunga and Britney Roundtree added 11 between the pair. Starters Latifah Coleman and Allisha Gray also contributed 11 shooting 2-3 each from the field in the first.

At the break, Carolina held the two-point lead, 34-32.

However, the Heels opened up the second half on a 10-2 run, extending the game to a double-digit lead. Just before the less-than-12-minute media timeout, UNC went on another run to extend the lead to 19 at 58-39.

Virginia whittled away at the lead in the final quarter of the game. With 16 seconds, the Cavaliers brought it back to a four-point game off a three from game-high scorer, Faith Randolph. However, Carolina hit its free throws down the stretch and held on for its fourth-straight win.

After averaging more than 30 points and putting up two season high nights of 30 and 38 last week, the Cavaliers had freshman Diamon DeShields’ number in the first holding her scoreless off two shots. She finally got on the board just more than three minutes into the second frame and tallied seven points.

Virginia’s Randolph led all players with 24 points. Carolina was led by Gray who scored 18; Mavunga had a double-double with 17 points and ten rebounds.

With the win, Carolina improved to 21-6, 9-4 in the ACC; Virginia fell to 13-13, 6-7.

With just three games remaining in the regular season, the Tar Heels return home Sunday to host last-place Virginia Tech at 2:00 p.m.

Box Score


Tar Heel Women To Take On Cavaliers In Charlottesville

The No. 11 North Carolina women’s basketball team, 20-6 on the season and 8-4 in the ACC, will look to continue its fine play of late when it takes on Virginia, 13-12 overall and 6-6 in conference, Thursday in Charlottesville for a 6:30 p.m. tipoff.

The Tar Heels have caught the attention of the nation with thrilling road wins over a pair of top 10 teams in Duke and N.C. State thanks in large part to the dominating performances put in by freshman Diamond DeShields.

DeShields was named ESPN’s National Player of the Week on Monday.

In addition, teammate Allisha Gray was named the ACC’s Rookie of the Week for the third time this season following her impressive week of play.

Carolina will need to maintain their focus on the road in John Paul Jones Arena, a tough place to play. The last two contests there have both gone to double overtime with UVA and UNC splitting the meetings.


Tar Heels Can’t Keep Pace With Hot-Shooting Cavaliers, Fall 76-61

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.– The North Carolina men’s basketball team lost to the Virginia Cavaliers Monday night 76-61 on the road to fall to 11-7 overall and 1-4 in the ACC.

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***Listen to Roy Williams’ Postgame Press Conference***

With the win, Virginia improved to 15-4 overall and 5-1 in the conference.

It was a back-and-forth affair inside rowdy John Paul Jones Arena early on, but Virginia pulled away late in the first half with an 8-0 run before the break. And some hot shooting to open the second half earned the home team a 15-point commanding lead that they never relinquished.

UVA’s Michael Brogdon led the scoring charge for the Cavaliers with 16 points while standout guard Joe Harris matched him with 16 points of his own, including a trio of three-pointers.

Carolina struggled to sustain any kind of momentum on the offensive end and could not provide any answers on defense for the Cavalier scoring barrage.

UNC vs. Virginia 033

McAdoo tangles with Anderson (Melet)

One of the lone bright spots on the night for Carolina was freshman Kennedy Meeks, who posted a team-leading 15 points and nine rebounds. James Michael McAdoo and Leslie McDonald reached double figures, at 11 and 10 points respectively.

James Michael McAdoo controlled the opening tip for the Tar Heels, and Leslie McDonald scored on a second-chance opportunity to draw first blood.

But UVA standout Harris responded with interest, draining a three-pointer to give the Cavliers the 3-2 lead with 18:40 on the first half clock.

Wasting no time, J.P. Tokoto made his fifth three-pointer of the season to reclaim the lead for UNC. McAdoo’s deep make pushed Carolina’s lead out to 7-3.

It was Harris again who provided the answers for Virginia. He was on fire early on, sinking two more shots from behind the arc to give UVA the 9-7 lead with 16:15 to go in the first half.

McAdoo’s physical play inside helped him eclipse the 1,000-point mark in his career. But early on, Virginia had only missed two shots as a team.

Paige picked up his second foul of the game that forced him to the bench. But Brice Johnson provided a nice lift to get UNC to within a single point at 15-14 with under 14 minutes remaining on the first half clock.

Meeks showed smart court awareness when he cleaned up on a second-chance opportunity to briefly reclaim the lead at 16-15 for the Tar Heels.

The hot shooting for the Cavaliers continued, shooting 4-6 from three-point range, but Carolina continued to display balanced offensive scoring with Britt entering the scoring fray.

With 10 minutes to go in the first half, the pace was feverish, and the Cavaliers held a 22-21 edge when a timeout was called.

Paige rolled one in coming out of the stoppage in play to cut the deficit to one point yet again. A Britt steal followed, but a three-point attempt fell woefully short for Carolina.

At the 7:20 mark, it was the Cavaliers who maintained a 26-23 advantage.

The Tar Heels were passing the ball well, and McAdoo found Meeks in the clear to dunk it home to earn a 27-26 lead for Carolina with 5:50 to go in the half.

Meeks for the dunk (Melet)

Meeks for the dunk (Melet)

Virginia took a timeout and the 28-27 lead with 4:09 to go. As the clock was winding down, both squads appeared to be getting tired as sloppy play littered with turnovers took over. Tokoto committed a few turnovers of his own, helping the Cavaliers to a 34-29 lead with under two minutes left in the half.

Harris added another three-pointer right before the break to extend out the Virginia lead. The Cavaliers ended the half on an 8-0 run to lead by nine at 38-29.

The halftime stat sheet showed Virginia was shooting 51.9 percent as a team while Carolina was only managing a 39.4 percent success rate.

UVA’s Harris was leading all scorers with 11 points, including three from behind the arc. As for the Tar Heels, McAdoo and McDonald were leading the charge with 7 points apiece.

Virginia wasted not time to score in the second half. Mike Tobey scored to ignite the crowd and extend the lead out to 11 points.

The Cavaliers continued to fill up the bucket and quickly raced out to a 47-33 lead with 17:28 to play in the contest.

Carolina adjusted to a 2-3 zone on defense to attempt to change the momentum and deal with the success of the Cavalier attack.

Carolina’s Johnson came up with a nice defensive block right before a stoppage in play. Virginia led the Tar Heels 48-36 with 15:34 to go in the game.

Meeks was a bright spot for UNC in the second half, providing some aggressive minutes to keep the Tar Heels within shouting distance. But Virginia’s shooters were not cooling off.

Virginia held a 55-43 cushion with 11:32 to play. Head Coach Roy Williams was fired up and yelling at the officials over a foul call.

Fired up Coach Williams

Fired up Coach Williams (Melet)

The Carolina offense just could not come up with any stops to cut into the Cavalier lead though. Virginia led 60-49 with 8:48 to play.

The atmosphere softened as the clock ticked down and with little doubt in the outcome despite a McDonald three-point make.

Tokoto fouled out for the first time in his career with 5:02 to play in the game, and the frustration had mounted for the Carolina players as time expired on the blowout defeat.

Next up for Carolina is a Sunday home meeting with the Clemson Tigers.

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UNC Clobbered by UVA

Box Score


Mixing It Up: Coach Williams Playing With Lineups Heading Into Virginia

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.– The 11-6 North Carolina men’s basketball team, 1-3 in conference, faces a pivotal Monday night 7 p.m. matchup in the ACC race when they travel to Charlottesville to take on the surging 13-5 Virginia Cavaliers, 4-1 in ACC play.

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Carolina is coming off a rebounding 82-71 win over Boston College on Saturday to avoid the school’s first ever 0-4 start to the conference season. Virginia rolls into the contest with a comfortable 78-66 victory against Florida State.

Marcus Paige reemerged with 21 points Saturday to lead all scorers while James Michael McAdoo turned in 17 points and six rebounds.

Head Coach Roy Williams says he was pleased with the balanced scoring performance and pointed out that the locker room was a much more hospitable environment following the game.

“Five guys in double figures, you like to have that. We shot over fifty percent in both halves. We’re very pleased, relieved, you can put any adjective you want to in there. But it’s a much better feeling in that locker room,” Coach Williams says.

The Tar Heels will hope to carry the momentum with them as they take on a tough Cavaliers squad featuring a top-notch coach in Tony Bennett and an always rugged defense that will test the patience of Carolina’s shooters.

Coach Williams says he has been impressed with the development of sophomore forward J.P. Tokoto, who tallied 14 points in his last outing.

“J.P. is getting better and better. I think each game he’s getting better and better. We need him to do that,” Coach Williams says.

In the BC game, Coach Williams mixed things up with a surprising starting lineup that included Leslie McDonald and Jackson Simmons. And Coach Williams says he may go with it again in Charlottesville Monday night.

“I don’t know that Leslie had done enough to deserve it, but I wanted to do something. Jackson plays harder than everybody else. That’s the reason that he got the chance. I may stick with it at Charlottesville, and I may not. But I just don’t want to sit back and not do anything, so we tried to change it up,” Coach Williams says.

Freshman Kennedy Meeks says he would characterize the practices over the last week leading up to the ACC showdown against the Cavaliers as intense.

“There’s a lot of intensity to get ready for the game today and preparing for Virginia on Monday. This week in practice has really been intense,” Meeks says.

Last year, Carolina split its two meetings with Virginia, dropping the contest on the road 52-61.


No. 15 Volleyball Wrapping Up Regular Season at Carmichael

CHAPEL HILL– The No. 15 Carolina volleyball team is ready to finish out their regular season in style with a visit from a pair of teams they’ve beaten earlier in the season.

The 22-3 Tar Heels are 11-3 in conference and face 20-8 Virginia Tech Friday night at 7 p.m. On Saturday, Carolina will take on the Cavaliers of Virginia for Senior Night. UVA is 15-11 overall and 8-6 in league play.

Carolina will honor Kaitlyn Anderson, Kayla Berringer and Jovana Bjelica before Saturday’s match.

Admission is free to both matches at Carmichael Arena and GoHeelsTV will broadcast the action online.


Carolina Football Hitting Its Stride

Photo courtesy of GoHeels.com

CHAPEL HILL– The Tar Heels are on a roll. Homecoming may have inspired UNC’s most complete performance of the season.  The 45-14 demolition of the Virginia Cavaliers on Saturday moves Carolina to the doorstep of a .500 record at 4-5.

Head Coach Larry Fedora says there wasn’t much he wasn’t pleased about. The Tar Heels were efficient in all three facets of the game.

“I’m proud of the way the guys played. We made a game-changing play on special teams. Our defense did a nice job of stepping up and stopping the run. And offensively, we took care of the ball. We took care of the ball, and we finally put some drives together. We ran the ball effectively, and I thought Marquise did a great job of managing the game,” Coach Fedora says.

Quarterback Marquise Williams threw for a pair of touchdowns, ran for a score, and also caught a touchdown in The South’s Oldest Rivalry. Coach Fedora says the hat trick shows what Williams can do as he assumes command of the team.

“When Marquise is running the show now, it’s his team. We’re going to go according to how he plays, what he does, and how he manages a game. He’s not doing anything different than he was earlier in the year. Now, he’s out there more, and he’s making plays. When he has the opportunity to do it, he steps up and does it,” Coach Fedora says.

Carolina’s rushing attack emerged against Virginia. Logan, Blue, Morris, and Williams all had some success carrying the football as the Tar Heels totaled 201 net yards on the ground. Coach Fedora says he believes UNC is getting better each and every week.

“This is big for us running the football this effectively. We were better last week. We were much better this week. Hopefully, we’re just going to keep gaining. Those young offensive linemen are coming through. These young running backs are making some plays for us. We got a lot of young kids doing some good things. As a coach, you want to get better each week, and I feel like we’re doing that,” Coach Fedora says.

UNC scored on both defense and special teams against Virginia. This is a development that will no doubt serve the Tar Heels well as they look to run the table the rest of the regular season. Let’s revisit freshman Ryan Switzer’s electric punt return for a touchdown last Saturday.

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Carolina’s next challenge will come on a road trek up to Pittsburgh to take on the Panthers. And it won’t come easy. Pitt upset No. 23 Notre Dame Saturday night.


Carolina Claims Fourth Straight Victory Over Virginia

CHAPEL HILL–The Tar Heels won the 118th meeting in the South’s Oldest Rivalry 45-14 to improve to 4-5 on the season in front of the Homecoming crowd in Kenan Stadium Saturday afternoon.

UVA received the opening kickoff and running back Kevin Parks bashed ahead for a solid pick-up for the Cavaliers. The Carolina defense got some pressure to force a third down scenario for Virginia.

And Virginia picked up the first down on a pass from quarterback David Watford to Keeon Johnson.

The UVA offense was really marching the ball right down the field on the Tar Heels. But the Carolina defense was flying around the field to force a long field goal try by the Cavaliers, but they chose to pooch punt it at the last second into the outstretched arms of Ryan Switzer.

Quarterback Marquise Williams would have to go solo in this contest following Bryn Renner’s career-ending injury. Williams slung a nice pass out to receiver Quinshad Davis to set up a short yardage situation on second down.

And then the Tar Heels kept moving the ball methodically through the Virginia defense. Sean Tapley came up with an athletic reception diving to the sideline as Williams was looking comfortable in his new starting role.

A.J. Blue got in on the action next, running ahead for a 12-yard carry to progress the football to the Cavalier 33-yard line. It was Blue again to9 get inside the 10-yard line to set up a touchdown pass to Quinshad Davis that put UNC up 7-0 with 4:39 remaining in first quarter.

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On the ensuing possession, Virginia had third down and one. The Cavaliers elected to go for a pass, but Tre Boston delivered a punishing blow to knock the ball out of the receiver’s hands and force a punt. That was a big stop for the ever-improving Tar Heel defense.

Marquise Williams and the offense delivered on the next drive as Bug Howard made a guy miss out in space to pick up a nice gain. Then Williams threw a good sideline pass to Quinshad Davis to move the ball into Virginia territory as time was running out in the first quarter of play.

Another third down came for UNC, and up to this point the Tar Heels were a perfect 4/4 on third downs. And guess what? They converted again with an 11-yard pass from Williams to Tapley.

The very next play resulted in a touchdown strike to a wide open Williams from his receiver Davis. How did he get that wide open? The Cavalier defense was struggling mightily on this afternoon.

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And with that, the first quarter came to a close with Carolina leading 14-0. And what a special ceremony that occurred in between quarters. A wife and her children were reunited with their husband and father for the first time in a while due to military service. The crowd went wild in a heartwarming moment.

But it was back to football for the start of the second quarter with Virginia getting the ball back. The Cavaliers picked up one first down, but the Tar Heel defense did its job again to get the ball back to their clicking offense.

But the offense sputtered this time around, and Tommy Hibbard’s services were needed to boot the ball back to Virginia.

On the next series, Jabari Price stepped up for an impressive backfield tackle to force a third and long. Virginia called their first time out to talk things over for the crucial play. The third down was incomplete to result in a punt for the Cavaliers.

Some sloppy play followed for Carolina. Surprisingly, they failed to find Eric Ebron despite him being in one-on-one coverage a couple times in the series.

Virginia began their next drive with 8:48 remaining in the first half. Virginia moved the ball a bit, but then failed to convert on a third down and nine. The Cavalier offense was beginning to look anemic with misfired passes by quarterback Watford.

Lightning struck next. Ryan Switzer returned the punt for a touchdown to ignite the home crowd. It was Carolina’s first punt return for a touchdown since Giovani Bernard’s legendary game winner against N.C. State a year ago.

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The Tar Heel defense was emerging as a weapon on this team. They stood up UVA on fourth down by stuffing the run and getting the ball back to the offense. The “bend don’t break” style defense was serving Carolina well.

With less than three minutes remaining in the half, Carolina would have one more opportunity to throw some points on the board. A field goal try by kicker Thomas Moore sailed wide right to close out the first half with the Tar Heels up 21-0 over Virginia.

The halftime stat sheet showed a 206-124 edge for Carolina in total yardage. Marquise Williams was UNC’s leading rusher with 27 yards while Kevin Parks rushed for 59 yards to lead Virginia.

An unbelievably athletic improvising play by Marquise Williams to Ebron bailed out the Tar Heels on their opening drive of the second half. Williams himself capped off the scoring drive with a dash into the end zone to put Carolina up 28-0 with 12:04 left in third quarter.

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Norkeithus Otis delivered a physical sack on the UVA quarterback to bring up fourth down on the following series. The Tar Heels were dominating the contest in every aspect at this point. Tar Heel fans were left to wonder where this Carolina squad was earlier in the season?

Virginia burned Carolina defender Jabari Price on a long bomb that set The Cavaliers up for a good opportunity to avoid a shutout.

But it was as if every time the Cavaliers crossed the 50-yard line, the Tar Heels would amp it up to the next level.  But this time, Virginia found an answer and pushed the ball in the red zone with some good play calling that was keeping Carolina on its heels.

An eight yard carry by Kevin Parks put Virginia on the board, and with 4:53 remaining in the third quarter, the Tar Heels maintained a 28-7 lead.

Marquise Williams gave possession right back to the Cavaliers with an errant throw that fell into Virginia’s hands. The interception was helping to build momentum for UVA.

But the Tar Heels returned the favor with interest. Dominique Green picked one off and returned it 62 yards for a touchdown. The crowd went wild. The score was ratcheted up to 35-7 in favor of North Carolina.

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The intense play and pressure delivered by Kareem Martin was becoming hard to ignore all day long. He was playing like a possessed man.

At the close of the third quarter, Carolina committed another holding to tally 10 penalties already in the contest, yet the Tar Heels had assumed a commanding 35-7 lead.

Williams failed to connect with Ebron on back-to-back plays. He overthrew him both times. And that resulted in a 47 yard punt for Hibbard to hand the ball back to the Cavaliers.

But a Tre Boston interception snagged it back for the Tar Heels yet again. Would Carolina take advantage of the great field position? Yes. A beautiful screen pass to Khris Francis scored a touchdown to give the Tar Heels a 42-7 lead with 12:50 remaining in the game.

Virginia answered back with a pass to Johnson to close the score to 42-14 with 11:38 left in the fourth quarter.

Despite the score by UVA, the only thing in doubt about this game was the final score.

Norkeithus Otis registered his second sack of the day to halt yet another Virginia drive with under 3:30 left in the game.

The time expired on the contest shortly thereafter. It was Carolina getting a solid home win to keep alive their bowl aspirations. It was shaping up to be a November to remember.