Photos/Recap: Late Goal Lifts No. 5 UNC Past No. 8 Virginia

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - North Carolina senior midfielder R.G. Keenan has a habit of scoring late-game, momentum-shifting goals in his career for the Tar Heels. He did it again on Saturday on Senior Day at Fetzer Field as the #5 Tar Heels defeated the #9 Virginia Cavaliers 11-10 at sun-drenched Fetzer Field.

Photos of the action by Jack Tarr appear on the final three pages of this post.

Before a near capacity crowd of 4,952 fans, Keenan scored off his own face-off win with 2:28 remaining in the fourth quarter to rally the Tar Heels past the Cavaliers 11-10. Carolina improved to 9-2 on the season with the win and evened its ACC record at 2-2. The Cavaliers fell to 8-4 on the season and they are now 1-3 in the ACC.

Carolina has now won four games in a row over the Cavaliers, the first time they have done that since 1990-92. The Wahoos had also won the last seven games between the two teams that had been decided by a single goal. Carolina's one-goal win on Saturday was the first time it beat the Cavaliers in that scenario since a 19-18 victory in 1996.

It was a classic ACC battle in which neither side was ever able to gain clear footing. UNC twice led by a pair of goals in the first half. But after the teams were deadlocked 5-5 at intermission neither team held more than a one-goal lead for the entirety of the second half.

Carolina carried a 9-8 edge into the fourth quarter but Virginia tied the game on Mark Cockerton's fourth goal of the match with 7:24 to play. After Matt Barrett made his 13th save of the game on a shot by Shane Simpson with 6:06 to play, the Wahoos went on a long possession, shooting wide three times before UVA head coach Dom Starsia called timeout with 4:10 to play. After another shot by Cockerton was off the mark, the Wahoos took a 10-9 lead with 3:38 to play as Greg Coholan scored his 10th goal of the season, assisted by Owen Van Arsdale.

Carolina won the ensuring face-off and worked the ball around for more than a minute before Pat Foster, who had a career high four assists, found a cutting Steve Pontrello all alone in front of the goal. Pontrello's 11th goal of the season tied the game at 10-10 with 2:33 to play.

Keenan, one of 12 seniors playing their final games at Fetzer Field, was perfect on the pinch and pop on the ensuing face-off as he seized the ground ball and went straight down the field and scored past Barrett just five seconds later. It was his second goal of the season. He also had the game-winner in the win at Johns Hopkins last Saturday.

The game was far from over, however. Virginia gained possession on the next face-off and a shot by Mark Cockerton went wide with 1:51 to play. Nineteen seconds later, senior Ryan Creighton forced a turnover by James Pannell and senior Mark McNeill scooped up the ground ball and cleared successfully for UNC.

Carolina was able to hold the ball until a timer-on violation with 19 seconds left gave the ball to the Wahoos. But the Cavs were unable to clear as Creighton knocked down Chris LaPierre's pass, gathered in the ground ball and ran off the final nine seconds before a raucous, partisan crowd.

Joey Sankey led the Tar Heels with three goals and two assists while Jimmy Bitter and Steve Pontrello each scored twice for Carolina. Pat Foster's four assists broke his previous career high of three set against Penn State his sophomore year and Bucknell earlier this year. Shane Simpson, Keenan, Luke Goldstock and Walker Chafee all had single goals for UNC. Single assists went to Spencer Parks and Chad Tutton.

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2014-04-05



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