It was then that North Carolina scored the game's first two goals, including one with one second remaining. The Tar Heels parlayed that momentum into an 11-4 victory before 1,500 fans on a bitterly cold and windy night in Annapolis.
It was the first victory for North Carolina (4-0) in Annapolis dating from 2001.
The goal that was most problematic for Navy came with one second left in the first quarter. Senior Sean DeLaney scored the goal, on an assist by fifth-year senior Gavin Petracca.
The play began with four seconds left in the quarter; North Carolina was inbounding the ball more than 20 yards behind Navy's goal.
"If you look at the first quarter, it's a freaking dogfight," Navy Coach Richie Meade said. "And then we crack. ... There's four seconds left in the half, all you have to do is stay between your man and the ball. Let it hit you in the back. But that's a mistake that turns into a goal."
Said North Carolina Coach Joe Breschi: "Late in the first quarter we were able to punch a couple goals home, and that gave us some confidence."
For the Midshipmen (1-2), the early deficit was too much to overcome. North Carolina has a very strong defense that puts pressure all over the field; Navy was ill-equipped to handle the pressure, especially without senior attackman Tim Paul, who is out for the year with a torn ACL in his right knee.
Paul had played some signature games against the Tar Heels: His three-game career in the series featured 10 goals on 29 shots and included a four-goal performance in an 8-7 victory in the 2008 NCAA tournament.
Without Paul, Navy's attackmen went 1 for 8 shooting, with no assists and nine turnovers.
Senior Evan Sullivan scored the goal, an extra-man score with 16 seconds left in the first half.
The other Navy goals were from senior midfielders Basil Daratsos and Joe Lennon and sophomore midfielder Taylor Cook. In all, the Midshipmen used six attackmen.
"Timmy was a big, big part of the offense," said senior Brendan Connors, a starting attackman. "Timmy got hurt on Saturday and we only had three or four days to prepare. Once we have a few more days, we'll be able to start clicking. It's big shoes to fill, it's going to take more than three or four days to fill those shoes."
Said Breschi: "I feel so bad for Tim Paul. He's had an amazing career and is a great player and certainly a leader of that team. I liken it to us losing Billy Bitter. He's their top offensive threat, and that's a tough thing to overcome."
Fifth-year senior Gavin Petracca finished with two goals and five assists for North Carolina. Junior Billy Bitter, an All-American attackman, added three assists and freshman Marcus Holman scored four goals.
"Billy Bitter played well, he created a lot of opportunities, but I don't think we played well defensively," Meade said. "We'd slide to him and we wouldn't cover up [inside]. They were very good at finding the open guy, they got in in-close. They didn't shoot much outside."
The game was scoreless until the final minute of the first quarter. Petracca scored the opening goal with 49 seconds left. The goal with one second left was a back-breaker for Navy.
The Tar Heels extended the lead to 6-0 on a goal by Holman with 3 minutes left in the first half.
"They pressured us, we knew they were going to pressure us. early in the game, we had an opportunity," Meade said. "We ran by them a couple times and had a couple chances to score, and once we didn't do that, we got tentative and they kept the pressure on us."
LAX: NAVY FALLS TO NORTH CAROLINA, 11-4
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