The Duke-UNC rivalry is one of the best in all of sports. Mainly, the rivalry has been associated with the two basketball teams, but it has that same intensity on the lacrosse field. The evidence was with Sunday’s thrilling game at Fetzer Field in front of 5,711 fans.
Duke scored six goals in the 2nd quarter to take a 7-5 lead at the half, a much better half than last week against Syracuse. But after leading 11-10 at the start of the 4th, UNC took control. Chad Tutton had three of his four goals in the span of five minutes early in the final stanza, and Steve Pontrello gave the Tar Heels the eventual game winner with 6:34 remaining. The rest of the attack contributed heavily for North Carolina, as Jimmy Bitter and Joey Sankey each had three goals and two assists. Stephen Kelly took care of face-offs, going 22-33 from the x against Jack Rowe for most of the game. Kieran Burke made ten saves, including the last stop in the game on Myles Jones with a little over a minute left.
For the Blue Devils, Justin Guterding continued his impressive freshman season with a hat trick and three assists while Deemer Class exploded for five goals. Myles Jones got back to the goal sheet with two of his own as well as an assist. But what may have been the bigger story entering the game was the net minder. Coach John Danowski decided to give redshirt freshman Danny Fowler the start over Luke Aaron, saying that he had “nothing to lose: with putting him in. He was right, as the young goaltender stopped thirteen shots on the day. It will be interesting what will happen with the goalies. Will Danowski start Aaron? Will he start Fowler? Might he put one goalie in the first half and the other in the second, kind of what Syracuse and Denver did last season?
The Tar Heels are 1-0 in conference play and travel to Charlottesville to take on Virginia Friday night at 7 PM on ESPNU. Duke is 0-2 and looks to pull off a huge upset as they host Notre Dame Saturday at 5 PM, also on ESPNU. But keep an eye out in two weeks, as Duke hosts Virginia in what may decide who gets into the ACC Tournament in Chester.