Coming off of a huge win over No. 1 Maryland, the UNC Tar Heels will look to keep heading in the right direction as they host Brown tonight in Chapel Hill.
UNC, now 5-3 on the year, saw attackman Joey Sankey and goaltender Kieran Burke take home ACC honors this week after the huge upset in College Park. Sankey has 19 goals and 10 assists thus far, working with linemates Jimmy Bitter and Marcus Holman to wreak havoc on opposing defenses. These three players have combined for 93 points this year, a vast majority of the Tar Heels' scoring. Burke has played exceptionally in net for UNC, saving 85 shots on his way to a 53 percent save rate in 2013.
The Tar Heels have some big wins already, with Princeton and Maryland headlining their victories. They fell to ACC rival Duke, a team that seems to have their number year after year.
Meanwhile, the Brown Bears are quietly having a very successful season. 5-1 this season, the Bears only loss came in their opener to Quinnipiac by a score of 9-7. Head coach Lars Tiffany has been thrilled with the play of freshman Henry Blynn, who has accumulated 13 goals and eight assists to lead the team in scoring. Another freshman, goalie Jack Kelly, has also been impressive in saving 51 shots on his way to a 53 percent save rate in the Bears' six games this season. Although 5-1 thus far, the Bears are heading into a tough stretch in their schedule. Following the tilt with UNC tonight, Brown will face Princeton, Penn and Yale in their next three games. All three are nationally ranked.
Both the ACC and Ivy League have proven to be very tough this year. There are four ranked teams in the Ivy, while the ACC has some of the deepest and most talented rosters in the nation as well.
For both teams, this mid-week showdown is critical as they try to build their tournament resumes. Although not a conference game for either team, their schedules are very tough in the coming weeks, and tonight's game cannot be overlooked.
It has certainly been a treat to have college lax on TV every Wednesday, and this Wednesday night's ESPNU broadcast should not disappoint.
Stay tuned for more college lacrosse as the season heats up down the stretch. The next two weeks will tell us a lot about tournament seeding. The recent upsets in the top 10 have shaken things up, and I do not see this trend dying down anytime soon.