No seed, no problem for the UNC men’s lacrosse team on Saturday afternoon.
The Tar Heels, who were not given a national seed for the NCAA Tournament, traveled to Milwaukee and eliminated the No. 6 seed Marquette Golden Eagles 10-9 at Valley Field to advance to a familiar place–the national quarterfinals.
Despite being held scoreless over the final ten minutes, UNC (9-6) held off a late rally by Marquette to eke out its 24th appearance among the country’s final eight teams.
In just their fourth full season as a Division I program, the Golden Eagles finished the year at 9-5 and as champions of the Big East Conference.
UNC’s experience in tournament situations ultimately proved to be a bit too much for the upstarts.
Led by junior midfielder Michael Tagliaferri’s three goals and one assist, the Tar Heels showed a persistent offensive attack that continually kept Marquette on its toes–compiling 37 shots throughout the game.
Attackers Steve Pontrello and Chris Cloutier each scored a pair of goals for UNC, while midfielder Shane Simpson added one during the second quarter.
Cloutier’s second goal came in the fourth quarter with the Tar Heels on a man advantage, and gave UNC its biggest lead of the day–at 10-7.
But that moment ended up being the last time head coach Joe Breschi’s squad found the back of the net.
Marquette clawed back from the three-goal deficit over the final minutes, aided by a delay of game penalty on UNC with just under two minutes to play–a call that ultimately led to a goal by the Golden Eagles.
The Tar Heel defense tightened up however, and fought off Marquette’s final offensive push.
After a wayward shot found its way into the goal crease with about 20 seconds to play, UNC was able to gain possession and hold on until the clock hit triple zeroes.
The Tar Heels await the winner of No. 3 Notre Dame and Air Force for their quarterfinal matchup.
Although UNC has made it to the quarterfinals 24 times, and in four of the last seven years, the Tar Heels have not made it to the Final Four since 1993.
Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated
CHAPEL HILL– The 3-3 Boston College Eagles present the next challenge for a Tar Heel team hungry to get back in the win column.
Coach Addazio says he thinks the bye week came at the right time for the Eagles.
***Listen to the interview***
“We had come off a tough road game and a physical stretch of playing some pretty good opponents. We felt like we needed a chance to gather ourselves a little bit,” Coach Addazio says.
Boston College stayed competitive with both Florida State and Clemson earlier in the season; two of the top teams in the ACC. Coach Addazio says his team is learning how to play tough and physical through four quarters.
“We’re learning how to be a physical, tough team that plays with a lot of energy and a lot of passion. And that’s the footprint that we want here. I think that to this point we’ve been a scrappy hard-playing football team,” Coach Addazio says.
And with the ACC’s leading rusher, Andre Williams, in their backfield, the Eagles will be confident in their chances Saturday.
“He’s got a good offensive line in front of him. He’s a big, fast, physical guy. He’s 230 pound guy who runs a 4.5. He’s got speed and power, and he’s got a good front in front of him. So those combinations usually work pretty well,” Coach Addazio says.http://chapelboro.com/sports/acc/coach-addazio-bye-week-came-at-right-time-for-golden-eagles
CHAPEL HILL– We are now just two days away from game day in Chapel Hill. And the Tar Heels are continuing their preparations for Boston College on Saturday.
Hoping to build off the solid performance in the Miami game for over three quarters, Offensive coordinator Blake Anderson says one of the biggest areas of improvement must come in the red zone.
“We got to be able to run the ball in the end zone. If people play coverage, we got to be able to run the ball in the end zone. We didn’t get that done. It’s obviously an issue. As far as points, we’ve got points more down there than we did this time last year. But we’re not scoring enough touchdowns,” Coach Anderson says.
Coach Anderson says running back T.J. Logan has unbelievable talent and explosion. And for that, he says Logan remains atop the Tar Heel depth chart.
“He did a great job stepping up in protection. He made some guys miss along the way. He shows a little bit of a burst that we weren’t having. […] At this point in time based off what we’ve seen at this point, he gives us the best chance to win,” Coach Anderson says.
Running back by committee is not what Coach Anderson envisions for his offense, but for now, he says they will primarily utilize the dual-threat attack of A.J. Blue and the aforementioned Logan.
“We’re trying to get the guy on the field that gives us the best chance to win. And right now, we feel like we kind of got a one-two punch with T.J. and Blue,” Coach Anderson says.
Coach Anderson says he expects the physical Boston College team will roll into Chapel Hill on Saturday fully expecting to take down the 1-5 Tar Heels, so the team better be firing on all cylinders in Kenan Stadium.
“They’ve got size, and they got several guys that stand out in terms of their motor. They play extremely hard. I would think they come in here chomping at the bit, expecting with our record, hey, this is one that we can win,” Coach Anderson says.
Starting tailback T.J. Logan says his immediate ascension to the starting role following his injury means a lot, because he knows the coaching staff has complete confidence in his abilities.
“It means that I feel like the coaching staff has confidence in me. I just can’t take that for granted. I’ve got to go out every day and try to work and grind and just help our team win games,” Logan says.