Crotty, Howell Outplay Bitter as Duke Defeats North Carolina Again

Calvin W BoazCorrespondent IIMarch 6, 2017

In the most exciting lacrosse quarterfinal match this weekend, third-seeded Duke defeated sixth-seeded North Carolina 12-11.  A last second shot by North Carolina went wide to give the Blue Devils a berth in the semifinals next weekend in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

Ned Crotty showed why he is one of the five finalists for the Tewaarton Trophy, lacrosse's version of the Heisman Trophy, by tallying two goals and six assists.  Zach Howell also provided additional offense by scoring three goals. 

Duke couldn't have won without a tremendous effort from defenseman Mike Manley.  He held Tar Heel superstar Billy Bitter to just two assists.

The Tar Heels did get a hat trick from Sean Delaney and two goals by freshman Jimmy Dunster.

The first half of the game was categorized by alternating scoring streaks for each team. 

Duke led 3-0 after two goals by Howell and one by Max Quinzani.  North Carolina responded with consecutive goals by Gavin Petracca, Dunster, Bart Wagner, and Delaney to take the lead.

The Blue Devils took a 7-4 lead into halftime by getting the next four goals, two of which were scored by Crotty.  

North Carolina outscored Duke 4-3 in the third quarter to reduce the Blue Devil's lead to 10-8. 

Duke surged ahead early in the fourth quarter by Howell's third goal of the game and a long stick goal by defenseman Tom Montelli, his first of the season.

North Carolina displayed great hustle and fortitude by getting two man-up goals and an even strength goal by Wagner to cut Duke's lead to 12-11 with 6:10 left in the game.

Duke won the ensuing faceoff and milked most of the clock until they turned the ball over with 22 seconds left.

During North Carolina's final attempt to tie the game, the ball was poked lose, and a wild scrabble for it ensued.  Sean Delaney eventually gained control of the ball but only had enough wide to fire off a long-distance shot that was way wide of the goal as time expired.

Duke has now won nine games in a row this season and eleven in a row over the Tar Heels.  Duke will play Syracuse next Saturday.