May 16, 2010

Holman Feasts on Hens; UNC Neutralizes Dickson

by Jonathan Jones | Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online | Game Blog

Marcus Holman scored three goals, as North Carolina held off upset-minded Delaware, 14-13, in an NCAA tournament first-round game Sunday.

© Gray Quetti

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- When North Carolina attackman Marcus Holman sat down at the post-game press conference, he asked coach Joe Breschi for a blue Powerade.

“It’s Blue Hen blood,” Holman said.

Holman feasted on Delaware, scoring a hat trick and chipping in an assist, as UNC defeated the Blue Hens 14-13 on a wet Sunday night that included an hour and a half weather delay.

The Tar Heels held the nation’s No. 1 scorer, Curtis Dickson, scoreless on just four shots during a game that saw 10 ties. It was the first time in 25 games that Dickson, who entered the game with 62 goals, had gone without a goal.

“They were pretty much face guarding me,” Dickson said. “They were blocking me off and it was pretty frustrating to go through that all game. I tried to get open a couple of times, but they did a good job on me.”

UNC senior defender Michael Jarvis handled most of the Dickson duty and recorded three penalties in the first eight minutes of the game.

The first quarter went by in a flash. It included six ties and 12 goals. Delaware junior attackman Anthony Ruiz recorded a hat trick when he picked up a loose ball with nine seconds remaining in the quarter to tie it at 6.

“It was a blur to be honest,” Ruiz said. “Everything just happened real quick and I was just amazed when the whistle blew at the end of the first quarter. I just couldn’t believe it.”

UNC scored its six goals from six different sticks. No team scored a goal without it being answered in the quarter, with the largest margin between goals on either side being four minutes and 14 seconds.

Holman scored the lone second-quarter goal for the Tar Heels, while D.J. Widlake notched his second goal of the season for the Blue Hens. Widlake’s goal was the first in over 12 minutes for Delaware (10-7) and the second assist of the game for Dickson.

With 38 seconds left, Breschi called his most inopportune timeout of the game. Thomas Wood was winding up to deliver what would have been a tie-breaking goal for North Carolina. Instead, it went for naught after the referees signaled a timeout had been called.

“[Former UNC] Coach [Willie] Scroggs always said to me, ‘You can’t take those timeouts with you, so you might as well use them,’” Breschi said. “I just used it at the wrong time that time.”

The Tar Heels entered halftime in a 7-7 tie with the Blue Hens on the scoreboard, as well as most of the stat sheet. North Carolina took only four more shots than Delaware, which won only two more faceoffs in the half.

UNC opened its largest margin when Sean DeLaney and Matt Davie scored to give it a two-goal lead. But Delaware went on its best run of the night, rattling off three straight goals in 42 seconds. Nick Elsmo assisted on back-to-back goals and Ruiz recorded his fourth goal after Delaware won its third straight faceoff.

The Blue Hens’ lead lasted under two minutes, as Holman struck again. The freshman assisted DeLaney and then scored two of his own to give the Tar Heels a 12-11 advantage entering the final frame, during which UNC would score two goals to stave off Delaware.

Delaware was 6-for-6 on extra man opportunities going into the third quarter, but UNC held its ground on the Blue Hens’ final three chances. North Carolina was perfect on clear opportunities, going 18-for-18.

“We talk about special teams all the time,” Breschi said. “Man-up and man-down, rides and clears. The riding game was terrific.

“Those special teams were critical, especially the riding game,”

UNC advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals and will play Duke in Princeton, N.J. on Saturday in a rematch of the Tar Heels’ 13-7 regular season win.

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