CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Freshman Connor Cannizzaro had three points on two goals and an assist, but the No. 1 University of Maryland men’s lacrosse team fell from the ranks of the unbeaten with an 11-8 loss to No. 6 North Carolina in front of 6,135 at Kenan Stadium.
The Terrapins are now 7-1 on the season and 2-1 in ACC play. The Tar Heels improve to 7-2 overall and 1-2 in the conference.
UNC took an early 1-0 lead when Joey Sankey capitalized on an unsettled play, finishing off a feed from Pat Foster with 13:06 on the clock in the first.
Maryland answered right back as the second midfield line put up the first Terrapin goal at the 11:03 mark. Sophomore Henry West found freshman Colin Heacock inside the Tar Heel zone and Heacock was able to get off a quick turn-and-shoot to beat Carolina goalie Kieran Burke.
The Terps tool their first lead of the game with 10:01 left in the first on an unassisted goal by Cannizzaro. He was able to get right to the Carolina doorstep thanks to a terrific pick set behind the Tar Heel goal by freshman Matt Rambo.
North Carolina knotted the score at 2-2 with an extra-man goal by Foster at the 7:26 mark and then the Tar Heels regained the lead on an unassisted goal by Chad Tutton with 4:34 left in the first.
Cannizzaro scored his second of the game, finishing off a cutter off an assist by freshman Tim Rotanz, to tie the game at 3-3 with 7:28 left in the second.
The Terps regained the lead off the ensuing faceoff when junior Charlie Raffa won the ball clean and pushed it into the UNC box. The Carolina defenders wouldn’t come off the Maryland attackmen, but senior long pole Michael Ehrhardt was left alone and he scored his first career goal.
But the lead was short-lived as Carolina got goals by Shane Simpson and Walker Chafee to gain the lead at 5-4 with 3:40 left in the second.
The Carolina advantage would grow to two goals at the 2:34 mark when Spencer Parks was in the right place at the right time to pick up a rebound off of a shot by Jimmy Bitter and put it back in the Terrapin net for the 6-4 Tar Heel lead.
UNC had a chance to build on its lead in the final minute of the first half, but senior goalie Niko Amato stood tall and turned away a shot by Bitter and then scooped but the rebound as the clock wound down.
The second half started out with the 10th faceoff win of the game for Raffa and senior Mike Chanenchuk made it count as he lost his defender near the top of the box and stepped into a big shot that beat Burke topside to make it a 6-5 game at the 14:15 mark.
UNC counters less than two minutes later to up its advantage back to two on an acrobatic goal by Sankey.
Maryland’s defense picked up the offense on the next Terrapin goal. Amato made an easy stop on a shot by Steve Pontrello and quickly found a breaking Brian Cooper with the outlet. Cooper pushed the ball into the Carolina box and cut hard to his left hand and beat Burke for his first career goal at the 9:18 mark.
But Carolina wouldn’t let the Terps get on any kind of run and answered with Simpson’s second goal of the game with 8:15 left in the third to push its lead to 8-6.
The see-saw game continued with Maryland responding with a goal by junior Joe LoCascio at the 3:20 mark of the third. Cannizzaro drew a double-team coming around the back of the cage and slipped the ball to LoCascio, who was then able to step into a big shot from the right alley.
The Tar Heels continued the back-and-forth scoring to start the fourth quarter as Sankey got a step on his defender and slipped the ball under Amato’s stick for a 9-7 UNC lead with 10:21 to play.
Carolina pushed its lead to three for the first time in the game when Bitter scored an unassisted goal at the 9:31 mark for a 10-7 Tar Heel advantage.
The Terrapins refused to give in and cut the Carolina lead back to two on a shovel shot by Heacock off of an assist by Chanenchuk with 8:41 left.
Carolina continued to have the ball bounce its way less than a minute later when Rotanz dropped the ball while attempting a shot on an open net as Burke came out of the cage on a shot by Chanenchuk that bounced off the side of the net and behind the goal. Chanenchuk picked up the loose ball and found Rotanz on the left wing, but Jake Bailey picked up the dropped ball by Rotanz and went all the way down the field to finish the scoring.
Raffa finished the day winning 16-of-23 faceoffs with a game-high eight groundballs, while Ehrhardt had five groundballs and a caused turnover.
Maryland stays with conference play when it hosts No. 10 Virginia on Sunday, March 30. Faceoff is scheduled for noon at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium and the game will be broadcast live on ESPNU.
• With today’s 11-8 loss Maryland is now 39-24 all-time vs. North Carolina.
• With two points on a goal and an assist, senior Mike Chanenchuk now has 35 multi-point games for his career.
• With three points on two goals and an assist, freshman Connor Cannizzaro now has six multi-point and four multi-goal games for his career.
• With three points on two goals and an assist, freshman Colin Heacock registered the first multi-point and multi-goal game of his career.