Entering this weekend’s ACC Tournament, there was no guarantee that the 18th-ranked UNC men’s lacrosse team–which entered the event with a 6-7 record–would even have a chance to defend last year’s national championship.
Following Sunday’s 14-10 victory in the ACC Championship Game over No. 6 Notre Dame (8-4) at Duke’s Koskinen Stadium, it’s safe to say the rest of the nation should be on high alert.
Head coach Joe Breschi and the Tar Heels will not go down without a fight–as they proved last season when they made a Cinderella run to the program’s first NCAA title despite not earning a national seed.
The conference tournament title–UNC’s first since 2013–means the Tar Heels will receive the ACC’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
Junior attacker Chris Cloutier was named the event’s Most Valuable Player after scoring three goals and passing out two assists against the Fighting Irish on Sunday.
Andy Matthews opened up scoring for the Tar Heels with a goal in the opening minute, as UNC eventually reeled off a 4-0 run to begin the proceedings.
The Tar Heels–who also received four goals from senior Luke Goldstock–never once trailed in the game.
Notre Dame star attacker Mikey Wynne was limited to just a single assist by the UNC defense, which showed the ability to step up under enormous pressure.
Having clinched their spot in the NCAA Tournament, this win allows the Tar Heels to stick to the old cliche.
Throw out the record books. Seven losses don’t mean anything any more.
Now clicking on all cylinders, this UNC squad appears primed to write its own Cinderella story.