Top-ranked North Carolina jumped to a commanding lead in the first quarter, then played Maryland even for the remainder of a 16-11 Atlantic Coast Conference lacrosse victory today.
Carolina (4-0, 2-0 in the ACC) won its 16th straight game. It took the attack to the fifth-ranked Terrapins from the outset, gaining a 3-0 lead in the first 3:17 before Maryland called a timeout to regroup.
The Tar Heels' Peter Voelkel, playing with a broken thumb, scored an unassisted goal barely one minute into the game. Maryland promptly threw away a pass and Carolina quickly pushed the action back into the Terrapin end of the field. Less than half a minute later, freshman attackman Mac Ford scored the first of his three goals and Carolina led, 2-0.
There was another unassisted goal, by Steve Stenersen, before Maryland's Tim Worstell got his team on the scoreboard on an assist from attackman Jim Wilkerson.
Ford retaliated in short order, raising the score to 4-1. Minutes later Ford fed attackman David Wingate (three goals, one assist) just to the left of the crease and it became 5-1.
Wingate scored again with six minutes left in the period and the 6-1 score stood until early in the second quarter, when Kevin Griswold gave the Tar Heels their biggest lead, 7-1.
The closest the Terps could come was within three goals on several occasions in the third period.
"I think we were just missing by inches there in the first quarter," Maryland Coach Dino Mattessich said. "We were getting one-shot opportunities, and (Carolina goalie Tom) Sears was making the big saves."
For the game Sears, an all-America, rejected 18 shots. "There's no question, he was the key," Mattessich said. "He made some very, very big saves. We had a couple of chances to close the gap, and he closed the door."
Trailing, 8-4, at halftime, Maryland (4-1, 2-1 in the ACC) came out much more aggressive in the third quarter and twice threatened to seize the momentum.
Less than three minutes into the period, Maryland attackman Jim Wilkerson scored the third of his four goals to cut Carolina's lead to 8-5. But the Terrapins failed to capitalize on a holding penalty against Carolina, then gave up a goal to Wingate after Ford worked assiduously to retain control, then pass the ball from behind the Maryland net.
The crisp-passing Tar Heels led, 10-5, before Maryland's Chris O'Brien scored twice to make it 10-7 with 6:24 left in the third period.
After O'Brien's second goal, the Terrapins won the face-off, but Sears made the save, and North Carolina broke away to another Ford-assisted goal, by Doug Hall.