Posted Sunday, March 18, 2007 by .
No. 11 Tar Heels Fall To No. 5 Duke 9-7
Carolina bolts to 6-1 lead but Blue Devils dominate second half.
March 17, 2007
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - North Carolina bolted to a 6-1 lead in the second quarter but No. 5 Duke, which last week was the nation's top-ranked and undefeated team, scored eight of the last nine goals of the game to rally for a 9-7 win.
It was Carolina fourth successive hearbreaking loss to the Blue Devils as Duke had won the last four games in the series by two, two, three and two goals.
UNC saw its three game winning streak ended as the Heels fall to 6-2 overall and 0-1 in the ACC. Duke improved to 5-1 and is now in a commanding position to claim the ACC regular season title at 2-0.
The game was similar to last year's 11-8 loss to the Blue Devils in Durham when Carolina had a 7-1 lead in the first half before being outscored 10-1 the rest of the way.
Bart Wagner led the Tar Heels in scoring with a career-high four goals. UNC's other goals came from Nick Tintle, Ben Staines and Brian Connors. Six of North Carolina's seven goals were assisted with six different Tar Heels earning one assist each.
Three Duke players really hurt the Tar Heels on the Blue Devil offensive end as attackman Matt Danowski had three goals and midfielders Brad Ross and Ned Crotty each had two goals. The Duke offense relied on one-on-one moves and dodging as only thee of the Blue Devils' nine goals were assisted.
After UNC outshot the Blue Devils 13-6 in the first quarter the rest of the game belonged to Duke as the Devils outshot the Heels 28-18 in the final three quarters. UNC led in ground balls 25-21 at halftime but the Tar Heels had only eight ground balls in the last two quarters combined.
After winning eight of 10 face-offs in the first half, it was all Duke in the face-off circle after halftime with Duke winning six of eight draws.
UNC was also hurt on the extra-man as the Heels were only able to convert one of five chances.
Grant Zimmerman played an outstanding game in goal for the Tar Heels as he had 12 saves, including nine in the second half as he tried to hold off the Blue Devil scoring run.
The Tar Heels must recover from this loss quickly as they played at No. 10 Maryland next Saturday at 12 noon at Byrd Stadium in College Park, Md. The game will be an important one for the Tar Heels as they seek a spot in the 2007 NCAA Tournament field. UNC will be seeking its first win over Maryland since 2003 and its first win over a team ranked in the Top 10 since 2005.
The Tar Heels lost the point in the Carlyle Cup competition between Duke and UNC with the 9-7 defeat Saturday. Duke is now tied with Carolina at 8.5 points apiece. UNC needs 13 points to retain the Cup for the third year in a row. There are nine points still to be decided in the 2006-07 Carlyle Cup race.