No. 10 North Carolina scored four goals in the first 10 minutes of the fourth quarter as the Tar Heels upset the No. 1 Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse team, 13-9, on Sunday night in the Big City Classic in East Rutherford, N.J.
The previously unbeaten Blue Jays (8-1) had taken over the No. 1 ranking after beating defending-champion Virginia on March 24, but ran into a faster and quicker North Carolina team that dominated both the second and fourth quarters before an announced 25,934 at MetLife Stadium.
Hopkins had pulled within 8-7 with 5:50 left in the third quarter after trailing 8-4 at the half, but the Blue Jays fell apart again once long-stick midfielder Michael Pellegrino was called for a slash with two seconds remaining in the third period.
Sophomore attackman Nicky Galasso scored off the extra-man opportunity 39 seconds into the fourth period, and Tar Heels attackman Chad Tutton caught the Blue Jays flat-footed by sprinting through the middle of their defense for another goal with 13 minutes remaining.
Senior attackman Chris Boland (Boys' Latin) broke the string of North Carolina goals, scoring on a 12-yard shot midway through the fourth quarter, but North Carolina scored twice more in the next three minutes to secure the win.
It was the second straight victory for North Carolina (8-3) against a Maryland team. The Tar Heels beat the Terps, 11-10, on March 24. The win against Hopkins was North Carolina's first against a No. 1-ranked team since 1996.
"This is a big win for us, no question," North Carolina coach Joe Breschi said. "Now, we got Virginia next week. I'm very proud of this team. We played 60 minutes against a good Hopkins team. I'm very pleased how we have come together."
The Tar Heels had a number of stars. Jimmy Bitter had three goals, and fellow attackmen Marcus Holman (Gilman) and Thomas Wood had two each. But the night belonged to sophomore midfielder R.G. Keenan (Boys' Latin), who won 18 of 25 faceoffs and was named the game's Most Valuable Player.
Keenan "is a very special player," Breschi said. "When you can stop an offense with a weapon like that, it's lethal." The Blue Jays were outshot 49-34, and North Carolina had a 27-15 edge in ground balls.
"It's tough to beat a good team and you don't play well," Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala said. "Carolina came out and approached it as a must-win game, and we didn't. They played as a hungry team, and we played uninspired. Hopefully, they did us a favor and we wake up."
The Blue Jays trailed for most of the first quarter but scored two goals in the final 1:38 to manage a 4-4 tie at the end of the period. North Carolina had jumped out to a 2-1 lead after Tar Heels attackman Joey Sankey knocked down a clearing pass from goalie Pierce Bassett and defenseman Ryan Kilpatrick picked up the loose ball and rocketed a shot by Bassett with 10:36 left in the quarter.
Keenan, after winning the faceoff, scored on a high shot to push North Carolina's lead to 4-2 with 4:38 left, but Boland, playing regularly for the first time since injuring his shoulder in the season opener against Towson, scored off an assist from fellow attackman Wells Stanwick (Boys' Latin). Nearly 90 seconds later, Boland fed midfielder Rob Guida, who fired from 30 feet away to score on an extra-man situation to tie the score. The Tar Heels had received a bench penalty, which led to the extra-man opportunity for Hopkins.
But North Carolina dominated the second period and controlled the tempo. Holman, on a feed from Galasso, scored on an extra-man situation to open the scoring with 10:25 left in the second period.
Sankey scored off a quick pass from attackman Jack McBride from just outside the left post with 8:17 remaining to make it 6-4.
Holman blew by Hopkins defender Chris Lightner (Calvert Hall) from outside the box and right of the goal for another score with 7:17 left, and then Holman pulled off the hidden-ball trick and fed Wood for a goal for an 8-4 lead with 4:31 remaining.
No. 5 Notre Dame 13, St. John's 6: The Fighting Irish extended their winning streak to six games with a Big East Conference win over the Red Storm (5-4, 1-2) in the Big City Classic opener. Notre Dame (7-1, 2-0) outscored Saint John's 10-2 in the second half after falling behind in the first.
Jim Marlatt (River Hill) scored a career-high three goals for the Irish and was named the game's MVP.
No. 9 Duke 12, No. 13 Syracuse 10: The Blue Devils (9-3) scored six goals in the second quarter and handed the Orange (4-4) its second straight loss. Duke has won five in a row after a two-game losing streak at the beginning of March.