The Maryland lacrosse team has had North Carolina’s number over the last year.
On Saturday, the Terps displayed their offensive firepower in an 11-8 win. Midfielder Connor Kelly led the way with a six-point afternoon (three goals & three assists) and attackman Matt Rambo added four goals for Maryland.
This was the third time in the past 12 months that the Terps defeated the Tar Heels. Maryland came out on the victorious side in the 2015 Pacific Coast Shootout (a 10-8 win), the NCAA quarterfinals (a 14-7 win), and on Saturday afternoon.
North Carolina came out and grabbed the lead with 12:18 left in the opening. Chris Cloutier opened the scoring on an easy goal off a tremendous feed from Steve Pontrello.
The Tar Heels wouldn’t have the lead for very long.
Kelly found the back of the cage just 50 seconds later after he made his way in front. North Carolina never had a defender slide to alter his path, so he was able to rip one past goalie Brian Balkam.
On the ensuing possession, Kelly worked his magic once again. The star midfielder spun off Brett Bedard and fired an absolute cannon into the back of the cage to give the Terps a 2-1 lead just five minutes into the game.
While Kelly had his shot working early on, he was also able to show off his finely-tuned passing skills. With 58 seconds remaining in the first quarter, Kelly dropped a beautiful straight-line pass to attackman Colin Heacock, who was able to complete the backdoor goal to give Maryland a 4-2 lead.
The Tar Heels were able to cut the deficit to one goal with just five seconds left in the quarter. Attackman Brian Cannon plunged into the crease, but was pushed by Adam DiMillo, so it was called a good goal to make it 4-3.
The Terps held a 6-4 lead at halftime after midfielder Bryan Cole, Kelly, and Rambo each scored a goal in the second quarter. The Tar Heels actually outshot the Terps 23-20 in the first 30 minutes, despite Maryland maintaining the lead.
Maryland got the scoring started in the third quarter on a broken play with 9:16 remaining. Kelly was knocked to the turf, but refused to give up possession of the ball. Kelly got up and delivered a laser of a pass to Heacock, who was falling when he sent his shot past Balkam to make it 7-4.
Maryland would not relinquish their lead as they outscored North Carolina 5-4 the rest of the way. The Tar Heels added a pair of goals in the final 1:05 to make it appear like a closer game than it actually was.
Maryland’s defense gave a superb effort, which included 10 forced turnovers and 22 ground balls. Goalie Kyle Bernlohr was also sensational with nine saves in a winning fashion.