No. 11 UNC men’s lacrosse rallies to take a late lead, but falls; transfer Goldsmith scores 4

By R.L. Bynum

CHAPEL HILL — No. 11 Carolina battled from behind all afternoon and showed resilience, but only led for 55 seconds late in the game before quickly giving up two huge goals.

Denver scored twice in the last 2:29 to take a gritty 9–8 men’s lacrosse victory over the Tar Heels on a sunny day at Dorrance Field, despite four goals from graduate transfer Sean Goldsmith.

With Denver (3–2) playing tough defense, good chances weren’t common for UNC (3–2).

“I just think we didn’t take advantage of the opportunities,” UNC coach Joe Breschi said. “They controlled tempo; they controlled faceoffs. They had more opportunities than we did. In a game like that, you’ve got to can your opportunities.”

Goldsmith tied it 2:06 into the final period on a laser shot from 15 yards off of an assist from senior attackman Lance Tillman.

UNC sophomore midfielder Antonio DeMarco fired in a goal with 3:24 left to give the Tar Heels their first lead at 8–7. But Mic Kelly scored for the Pioneers 55 seconds later, and J.J. Sillstrop netted the game-winning goal with 1:23 remaining.

“That’s disappointing,” Breschi said of quickly giving up the lead. “At that point, it’s like the momentum has swung to us. The defense was solid, we took the lead, then we had some plays defensively that we hadn’t made all day, and we’ve got to close out those opportunities with under three minutes to go.”

Goldsmith, who racked up 50 points last season as the captain at Mercer, already has 13 points this season.

“It’s just part of lacrosse,” Goldsmith (in the middle of the celebration photo) said of the sequence in the final three minutes. “It’s a fast-moving game, a game of runs and you just have got to take the hits as they come and deal with it. You can’t really dwell on it too much.”

Goldsmith is embracing a much different role this season than he had last year at Mercer.

“It’s easy to play with this group of guys,” Goldsmith said. “Very talented offensively and just kind of taking a step back from the role I had at Mercer, becoming more of an off-the-ball player.”

The numbers were pretty even, with UNC outshooting Denver 32–31 and forcing more turnovers (18–17), but the Pioneers had the advantage on groundballs (28–25) and shots on goal (17–15).

“I think we could have done a better job of staying poised to turn the ball over more than we have in the previous four games,” Breschi said.

After Andrew Atchison gave Denver an early lead on a goal in the first 2½ minutes, graduate transfer attackman Logan McGovern spun from behind the cage and scored an unassisted goal 75 seconds later. Goldsmith responded to goals by Denver’s Stephen Avery and Joshua Carlson with a pair of scores.


Denver reeled off a 3–0 run on a Kelly goal in the last minute of the first quarter and scores midway through the second quarter from Ty Hussey and Carlson.

Sophomore midfielder Ty English ended a 17-minute UNC scoring drought with a shot just to the right of the cage with 1:36 left in the first half. After a Denver shot hit the post with 11 seconds left, Goldsmith took a transition pass from senior defenseman Matt Wright and scored a buzzer-beating goal to trim Denver’s halftime lead to 6–5.

Carolina freshman attackman James Matan made a nice pass from the right of the cage to Goldsmith for the tying goal three minutes into the second half. Denver took a 7–6 lead on Michael Lampert’s close-in shot with 1:30 left in the third quarter.

UNC goalie Collin Kreig made eight saves.

NOTE — Carolina is back at home next Saturday at noon to face Brown, which took a 2–1 record into Saturday’s game at Stony Brook. … McGovern made USILA’s Team of the Week after scoring eight points against Syracuse last Saturday. … Breschi has 148 wins at Carolina after getting 92 at Ohio State.

Denver 9, No. 11 UNC 8

(current rankings)
10FridayW, 25–3MercerHome1–0
14TuesdayW, 11–7No. 8 Johns HopkinsBaltimore2–0
19SundayL, 8–5No. 19 Ohio StateColumbus2–1
25SaturdayW, 19–13SyracuseSyracuse3–1,
1–0 ACC
4SaturdayL, 9–8DenverHome3–2
11SaturdayW, 19–6BrownHome4–2
17FridayL, 15–8No. 4 DukeDurham4–3,
1–1 ACC
19SundayW, 25–7DartmouthHome5–3
22WednesdayW, 16–9High PointHome6–3
25SaturdayW, 25–8ProvidenceHome7–3
7Friday6:00 p.m.No. 3 VirginiaHomeACCN
15Saturday4:00 p.m.SyracuseOlney, Md.ESPNU
22SaturdayNoonNo. 1 Notre DameSouth BendESPNU
6SaturdayNoonNo. 1 Notre DameHomeACCN

Photo courtesy of UNC Athletics Communications


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s