UNC was completely unfazed by the game-time decision to sit All-American Billy Bitter, the team's leader in points and a top candidate for the Tewaaraton award this year, due to a leg injury. They dominated 3 out of 4 periods as they rolled to a perfect 9-0 record on the year, and claiming the top spot in the ACC at 2-0 (although Virginia has yet to play an ACC game this season). Bitter remains day-to-day.
Taking his place was Freshman Marcus Holman, a product from Baltimore, MD lacrosse powerhouse Gilman High School. Holman was sensational. "Opportunistic" was the word Coach Dave Cottle used to describe the young attackman who scored 4 goals in place of Bitter.
But the big difference in the game was defense, defense, defense. North Carolina had only given up double digit goals in 1 game this season, a 12-11 victory over Princeton. In every other contest, the defense held opponents to 7 goals or less and today was no difference. Grant Catalino was held without a goal until the final minute of the game...scoring a meaningless goal, his 30th on the season to go along with 1 assist, giving him 31 points through 7 games. Travis Reed had an assist but was also essentially shut out of the game by the Tar Heels stifling defense. Ryan Flanagan has the size to match-up with Yeatman and Catalino. Flanagan is 6-6 and weighs 237. Many of Maryland's opponents have not been able to deal with the size or athleticism of their offensive weapons, but UNC was able to keep the Terps attack off-balanced, beating them to most 50/50 balls.
Dean Hart had the first goal of the game before the Tar Heels responded with 4 straight goals. The Terps seized back the momentum with a 3-goal rally to tie the game at 4 apiece going into halftime including drawing a penalty. Unfortunately, they couldn't capitalize on an EMO chance. Cottle pointed to the non-goal sequence as the turning point in the game.
Even without Bitter for the whole game and DeLaney, the other returning All-American [along with Flanagan], who injured his hand after scoring in the first half, UNC was able to muster 9 goals and dominate seemingly every facet of the game.
Jake Bernhardt did a good job in the 4th period winning face-offs as he tried to get the Terps back in the game with his stick and at least 3 MASSIVE hits, but it wasn't enough in the end.
I want to give a huge shout out to #13 Owen Blye who scored his first career goal in the game. The Terps will have a chance to bounce back from their first loss and get their second ACC win next week against Virginia. The game will be at home at 8p.m. against the unanimous #1 team in the nation. Be sure to tune in to wmucsports.com for the game.