Another Thursday night. Another ACC thriller.
In a No. 1 vs No. 2 battle between rivals Duke and North Carolina, the lacrosse world witnessed one of the best runnings of the Tobacco Road Rivalry of all-time and potentially a top-five game of the 2021 college lacrosse season.
After the two heavyweights traded punches all night long, the Duke Blue Devils found themselves with an opportunity to call it a game late in the fourth quarter – but a Dyson Williams goal following a ground ball scrum was waived off due to a Duke timeout prior to the shot. Brennan O’Neill hit pipe in the final shot of regulation. Similarly in overtime, the Blue Devils weren’t able to capitalize on the opening possession of the period with Collin Kreig recording his 13th and 14th saves for the Tar Heels, who were unable to capitalize on their lone overtime possession with Mike Adler stopping a William Perry shot and Chris Gray missing wide.
On Duke’s second possession in the overtime period, Joe Robertson called game. Receiving a pass from Michael Sowers from behind the cage, Robertson gets matched up on a short stick, gets underneath, and with no slide coming his way put in the game-winner while falling to not only earn his fourth goal and seventh point of the day but keep the Blue Devils undefeated record afloat and end Carolina’s 15-game winning streak that dates back to February of 2020.
Caputo cashed in two goals on the night, scoring his final goal of the contest with 1:24 in the third to tie the game up at 10. Joe Robertson gave the Blue Devils the lead heading into the fourth quarter and North Carolina’s Justin Anderson, who was one of three players alongside Chris Gray and Nicky Solomon to tally two goals and one assist, scored the lone goal of the fourth quarter to force overtime.
With neither team being able to take more than a two-goal advantage the entire contest, the goalie play was constantly on full display. While Kreig ended the night with 14 saves Adler anchor the Duke defense with 17 saves (12 in the first half).
In a highly-anticipated faceoff battle, Duke took the upper hand with Jake Naso going 15-for-24. Zac Tucci went 9-for-22 as the Tar Heels’ primary option and Andrew Tyeryar went 1-for-3. Tucci also scored the Tar Heels’f final goal of the first half, taking it to the rack right off the draw.
That Tucci goal helped pull North Carolina ahead 6-4 late in the second before a Robertson goal was able to cut the Tar Heels lead to 6-5 at the half. North Carolina regained a two-goal lead (8-5) early in the third, but Duke was able to answer as they had all night and neither team ever got ahead by more than one the rest of the contest with both sides continuing to trade punches until Robertson sealed the deal.
These two squads will meet again on May 2nd to end the regular season.