Fourth-Quarter Comeback Earns No. 12 UMass 12-11 Win Over No. 4 North Carolina
Feb. 16, 2013
KENNESAW, Ga. - Playing at Kennesaw State University's KSU Stadium in the Southern Showdown, No. 12 UMass men's lacrosse used a four-goal fourth quarter to propel the team to a 12-11 victory over No. 4 North Carolina on Saturday afternoon. Senior attack Kyle Smith and junior attack and midfielder Connor Mooney paced the offense with four points each on three goals and one assist a piece. Redshirt-freshman goalie Zachary Oliveri stopped 18 shots in net, including four during the final quarter when the Minutemen outscored the Tar Heels, 4-0 to secure the come-from-behind win.
Sophomore midfielder Andrew Sokol recorded three points on two goals and one helper, with his pair of tallies coming back-to-back during the decisive fourth quarter. Sophomore attack Grant Whiteway added a pair of goals, his first of the season, while junior midfielder Matt Whippen secured one mark and an assist. UMass played without senior attack Will Manny, who suffered a hand injury and was unable to dress for the contest.
The final goal of the game went on to become the decisive tally, with Mooney recording his third mark of the day on the play. Mooney rolled around the left side of the goal from the back of the cage and stopped at the crease, jumping into the air while placing a shot into the lower-right corner of the goal for the 12-11 lead with 3:18 to play in the contest.
After North Carolina had a pair of tying attempts go wide of the net in the span of 13 seconds, beginning with 2:35 left to play, the Minutemen kept possession away from its defensive zone until the final seconds of the contest. Following a UMass turnover near midfield, North Carolina's Greg McBride scooped up the loose ball and sprinted toward the UMass goal. McBride sent a last-second game-tying attempt on-frame, with Oliveri adjusting to the shot to record his final save of the day and secure the win.
North Carolina notched the opening pair of goals, one during a man-up situation, before the Minutemen connected to cut the deficit in half. Sean Cleary tallied the first UMass goal unassisted, fighting his way toward the crease before placing a shot by Tar Heels goalie Kieran Burke for the sophomore's second mark of the season.
North Carolina and UMass traded tallies through the remainder of the first quarter. After Jake Matthai earned a goal for the Tar Heels with 5:55 to play, Kyle Smith answered for UMass with his first tally of the day and second of the season to pull the Minutemen within 3-2 with 2:17 remaining in the opening quarter.
Marcus Holman, a two-time USILA All-American, extended the North Carolina lead back to a pair with 23 seconds remaining in the first. However, Kyle Smith found the back of the net only one minute into the second stanza, following a pass from senior midfielder Bobby Tyler, to cut the UNC lead back down to one, 4-3.
T.J. Kemp & Bitter recorded back-to-back tallies for the Tar Heels to push the lead to 6-3 for UNC before Whippen, the reigning CAA Player of the Week, added a tally for the Minutemen. Whippen spun off of his marking defender, rolled to the right and sent an attempt into the left side of the goal with 8:05 to play in the half for his sixth goal of the year.
Davey Emala sent a shot by Oliveri to extend the lead back to three, 7-4 with 1:38 left in the second, an advantage that held through the break before the Minutemen attack responded during the opening minutes of the third. Kyle Smith secured the hat trick, the eighth of his UMass career, by racing in front of the net from the side of the goal before extending his arms and dropping a shot by Burke.
With the 30-second stall warning active, the Minutemen again dropped the UNC lead to just one goal, 7-6, as Mooney earned his first tally with 5:35 remaining. To create the play, Mooney sprinted to his right and fired an attempt into the top-left corner of the goal.
The North Carolina offense answered with a tally from Chad Tutton at the 4:11 mark to extend the Tar Heels lead to 9-7, but Mooney responded with his second goal of the day to earn the Minutemen their eighth tally.
Kyle Smith found Mooney in front of the net, with the junior from Wilbraham, Mass., one-timing an attempt by the outstretched arms of Burke. However, the UNC offense recorded the final two goals of the third quarter on shots by Spencer Park and Holman to send UMass into the fourth trailing, 11-8.
Sokol pulled the Minutemen back within one goal of tying for the seventh time on the day with back-to-back conversions over a span of 1:36, using a leaping attempt following a pass from Whippen to secure the first with 14:01 to play in the contest.
After junior Joe Calvello won the faceoff following the goal and Whippen fired an attempt wide, Sokol dodged a defender at the right side of the net and shifted to his left while placing a hard shot into the back of the net with 12:25 to play for UMass' 10th tally.
The squads exchanged possessions over the following eight minutes of play before the Minutemen added the game-tying goal at the 4:16 mark. Whiteway controlled play behind the net and raced around the left side, converting a shot while being knocked to the ground in front at the crease to even the score at 11-11.
North Carolina tallied a 43-38 advantage in shots while the Minutemen scooped up 39 groundballs to 38 for the Tar Heels. UMass finished 18-for-22 on clears to a 12-for-13 clip for UNC. The Tar Heels won the faceoff battle, taking 15-of-28, while Burke finished with 12 saves for North Carolina. Calvello won 12 of the 26 faceoffs the junior took against the Tar Heels. Redshirt-sophomore Ryan Izzo notched a career-high seven groundballs while Tyler also set a single-game personal-best in the category with six scooped up on the day.