March 8, 2003
Chapel Hill, N.C. – The Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team, ranked 11th in the nation, remained undefeated today by beating #13 North Carolina 10-8 at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill, N.C. The Irish improve to 3-0 on the season and have defeated their third consecutive ranked team, while North Carolina falls to 1-2 on the year.
Notre Dame was led by junior Matt Howell who scored four goals and one assist in the game, while six other players scored for the Irish. It was the first four-game game of Howell’s career as he came into the 2003 season with only five goals and one assist in his career. Howell now leads the Irish in scoring with eight goals and eight assists for 16 points in only three games this season. Notre Dame also received goals today from senior Travis Wells, freshman Patrick Walsh, junior Dan Berger, freshman Matt Karweck, freshman Matt Ryan and sophomore Chris Richez.
North Carolina led 2-0 midway through the first quarter, before Notre Dame ran off seven of the next eight goals to lead 7-3 with 8:21 left in the third quarter. Wells opened the Irish scoring with a goal from Walsh at 3:11 of the first quarter. Walsh then tied the score at 2-2 scoring a goal of his own with 13:24 to go in the second. North Carolina regained the lead 3-2 on a goal from Andrew Lucas before the Irish scored five unanswered goals late in the second period and all of the third. Berger scored his sixth goal of the year tying the game at 3-3, before Howell scored his first goal of the game with 12:44 to go in the third quarter. Howell scored again almost three minutes later, before Karweck and Ryan made it 7-2.
UNC closed the gap to 7-4 before Howell completed his hat trick with 10:26 to go in the fourth. The Tar Heels closed the gap to 8-6, when Howell scored the game-winner with 6:41 to go in the contest. UNC tried to get back into the game scoring two late goals, the final one with 4:04 to go, before Richez cemented the Irish victory with four seconds left in the game.
The last time the Irish started the season 3-0 was in 2001 when they advanced to the NCAA Final Four. Notre Dame opened up that season with five straight wins.
Notre Dame continues its spring break trip with a game Tuesday at second-ranked Virginia. Game time in Charlottesville is 3:30 p.m. It will be a homecoming for Irish head coach Kevin Corrigan as he graduated from Virginia in 1982 and was an assistant coach for the Cavaliers in 1987 and 1988. It will be the fifth meeting between the two schools, as Virginia leads the series 3-1, including a 7-5 loss to the Cavaliers in Charlottesville last season.