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Guthridge, reluctant head coach, follows his friend Dean Smith in death

Bill Guthridge.

Bill Guthridge.

(Editor’s Note: Parts of this column were used in articles for the UNC General Alumni Association and WNCN TV)

Bill Guthridge, who reluctantly became head coach of the Carolina men’s basketball team after serving as a loyal assistant to Dean Smith for 30 years, died Tuesday night. He was 77.

During his career, Guthridge spurned offers to interview for head coaching vacancies, preferring to remain out of the spotlight and continuing to team with Smith, who died on Feb. 7. Once, in 1978, Guthridge nearly accepted the head coaching job at Penn State, but he changed his mind at the airport and reportedly never again thought about leaving Chapel Hill.

“If you have something you really enjoy, why go someplace else?” Guthridge said.

His kinship and relationship with Smith was a big part of that enjoyment.

Like Smith, Guthridge was the son of Kansas schoolteachers. He became a reserve guard in college at Kansas State, graduating with a math major.

Guthridge was known as a bit of a micromanager with superb organization skills. He went by the adage that if you take care of the little things, you’ll never have big problems.

Guthridge was generally mild-mannered and subtle, but when angered, he could be fierce and straightforward, coming to the aid of Smith and to the Carolina basketball program.

Once, following a particularly heated 72-71 victory over Maryland in 1983, Terp coach Lefty Driesell refused to shake Smith’s hand. Immediately, Guthridge yelled and charged after Driesell; he was restrained before making any contact.

Guthridge famously had to be restrained another time when a referee ejected Smith from a 1991 Final Four game against Kansas, with 35 seconds left and the Heels trailing by five. The explanation was that Smith left the coach’s box.

In the walkway after the game, Guthridge briskly and angrily approached the officials but was pushed away by a police officer and grabbed by then-sports information director Rick Brewer ’71.

Ironically, Guthridge was known more for his calm, professorial demeanor. In fact, Smith referred to just that when Guthridge retired after three years as the head coach.

“Bill’s basketball savvy, ability to remain composed and his genuine affection for his players are just some of the reasons for his success as a head coach,” Smith said at the time, adding that Guthridge never received enough credit as an assistant coach.

When Guthridge retired after the 2000 season, his 960 combined wins as an assistant at Kansas State and UNC (880) and head coach (80) were the most in Division I history. He was a part of 14 Final Fours — one as a player, 11 as an assistant and two in his three seasons as head coach.

Guthridge also was noted for what he did for the University away from basketball. In 1993, he and his wife, Leesie, created the William W. and Elise P. Guthridge Library Fund, which has helped with purchasing materials and renovation of the House Undergraduate Library. In 1998, the Bill Guthridge Distinguished Professorship in mathematics was established.

For 30 of his 33 years at Carolina, Guthridge was the behind-the-scenes guy — scouting opponents, making sure players got to class on time, disciplining players, getting the players on the bus or airplane and into the hotel, working with office staff on the smallest of details and recruiting (something, unlike many coaches, he said he enjoyed very much).

And he did it all with a dry wit and style.

He was known to answer a question such as “Coach, do you know what time it is?” with a “Yes” as he walked away. Once he asked a manager, whose arms were full of equipment, if he had change for a quarter. The manager put down his items and rifled through his pockets. Guthridge didn’t need the change — he just wanted to know if he had it.

At the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame museum, Guthridge pretended not to recognize a photo of Michael Jordan ’86, instead moving on to the photo of former Virginia coach Terry Holland.

On the practice court, he was all business, working with Carolina’s big men on posting up as well as working with all the players on their shooting skills.

But once he took over as head coach, he had to switch gears to leave the smaller details to his assistants and “tackle the big things,” as he said.

It wasn’t a transition Guthridge wanted to make, but some have speculated it was one orchestrated by Smith, who retired just before the start of the 1997-98 season, giving officials little time to find someone to succeed him.

In accepting the head coaching position, Guthridge said: “This isn’t quite the way that I have envisioned this whole scenario through the years. I had hoped that Dean and I could go out together and ride into the sunset in about five or six years.”

While Guthridge hinted he might stay as head coach for as long as 10 years, he retired in 2000 after three seasons as head coach. Despite running every morning, Guthridge, then 62, said he simply lacked the energy to go on.

He remained close to the University, the players and the basketball program after retirement, often going into the office to help. In 2007, the Carolina locker room was dedicated by the basketball lettermen in Guthridge’s honor.

In recent years, Guthridge often stood in for an ailing Smith at various events, many of them honoring Smith, who by then had lost his legendary memory. Guthridge’s memory itself started to fail in 2014.

Among his accomplishments:

National Coach of the Year in 1998;
He won more games than any college coach after one and two seasons and tied the NCAA record for most victories after three years;
Assistant coach for two UNC national championships (’82 and ’93);
Assistant coach for the 1976 U.S. gold-medal winning Olympic team;
Induction into the NC Sports Hall of Fame;
Recipient of the UNC General Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Medal; and
Induction into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.

UNC Alumni Association article on Guthridge’s death

WNCN article on Guthridge’s death

What they’re saying about the death of Bill Guthridge:

ACC Commissioner John Swofford:
“Bill was uniquely special. He was a kind soul with a strong, competitive spirit. A relatively quiet man with a wonderful and dry sense of humor. A tremendously loyal person with an ego that was seemingly non-existent. I don’t think I have ever heard of anyone that didn’t like and respect Bill Guthridge. Just a really good man who made Carolina, the ACC and college basketball better.”

Former UNC Director of Athletics Dick Baddour:
“Bill was one of the most respected and admired people I have known. If you played for him you loved him; working with him was a joy. The University of North Carolina has lost a dear friend, as have I, and I know that we will all miss him greatly.”

Carolina head coach Roy Williams:
“It’s another tremendous loss for our University, our basketball program and our entire community. He was extremely special, important to every player, every coach who ever worked here. He was even more important to me.

Not only did he coach me on the freshman team, he was my coach, another mentor, a friend, a father figure, a big brother for me just like he was for so many players.

He was an unbelievable assistant to Coach Smith. Coach Smith had so many strengths and very few weaknesses, and the weaknesses that he did have Coach Guthridge tried to fill. He tried to do every one of those little things that drove Coach Smith crazy. He was a perfect sidekick for Coach Smith.

He stayed (rather than leave for a head coaching job at another university) because he was enjoying what he was doing and why leave something you know is good for the unknown. At one point he thought he wanted to be a head coach, but he also decided that he really enjoyed Coach Smith and the program here and why should he leave when he has what he thought was the perfect job.”


Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski:

“It has been a trying time for the University of North Carolina basketball program over the past four months and our thoughts and prayers are with them again today after the passing of Bill Guthridge. Coach Guthridge played an instrumental role in the program’s success as an assistant under Dean Smith for three decades before making his own name as a head coach in leading North Carolina to a pair of Final Four appearances in three seasons. Though he was a head coach for a short time, he gracefully carried ona culture and legacy that many thought could not be perpetuated. We offer our deepest sympathies to his Bill’s family, friends and the entire North Carolina basketball community.”

Statement from Linnea Smith (wife of Dean Smith) and the Smith family:
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Coach Guthridge. He was a fellow teacher and colleague to Dean for more than thirty years and a friend and confidant for even longer. He’ll be missed by our family and the entire UNC community. We offer our condolences and our prayers to the Guthridge and UNC basketball families.”

Statement from Antawn Jamison, who earned consensus National Collegiate Player of the Year honors in 1998, Bill Guthridge’s first season as UNC’s head coach.
“I’m extremely saddened by the passing of Coach Guthridge, aka “Coach Gut,” especially coming so close to the loss of Coach Smith. He, like Coach Smith, was more of a mentor and father figure than anything else. His legacy and contributions to my life and to our University will live on and he’ll be much more remembered for his sense of humor and class just as much as his coaching.”


Statement from Chancellor Carol L. Folt:

“The Carolina community mourns the passing of Bill Guthridge, a great coach, devoted friend and loyal Tar Heel. For more than three decades, Coach Guthridge served this University he loved so much with a deep commitment to academic and athletic excellence. Like his lifelong friend and mentor, Coach Dean Smith, he led by example instilling values of kindness, discipline and a strong work ethic. His legacy lives on in each of the players who were privileged to call him Coach and countless Tar Heels and people across the nation who admired him. We offer our deepest condolences to the Guthridge family as they grieve the loss of a wonderful husband and father.”

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Undrafted: Duke’s Cofield signed by Redskins; ECU’s Carden by Bears

Takoby Cofield.

Takoby Cofield.

Now that the NFL draft is over, those who went undrafted are being made offers from teams as undrafted free agents. Several in North Carolina have already been signed including East Carolina quarterback Shane Carden (Bears) and Duke’s offensive tackle Takoby Cofield (Redskins).

Meanwhile, NC State was shut out of NFL Draft for the first time since 1996 but Wolfpacker Tyson Chandler, a 6-6 340-pound offensive tackle, signed with the Lions.

ECU’s Carden might be in a decent situation joining a team that went just 5-11 and whose fans booed the starting quarterback, veteraan Jay Cutler.

Carden has the best numbers of any East Carolina quarterback in history with nearly 12,000 passing yards, 86 touchdowns and more than 1000 completions.

Pirate teammate Lamar Ivey, a physical safety, was signed by the Seattle Seahawks.

As for the 6-4, 310-pound Cofield, a Tarboro native, Dane Brugler of CBS Sports said this before the draft, “Although guard Laken Tomlinson receives most of the attention on Duke’s offensive line, Cofield started 42 straight games at left tackle and has produced NFL worthy film of his own. He was a steady edge blocker for the Blue Devils, using adequate size, athleticism and constant hustle to get the job done. Cofield needs to introduce discipline to his play style to limit his lunges and improve his anchor to better sink in his stance to survive at the next level. Although he has wrinkles to iron out and his lack of range of physical tools aren’t ideal, Cofield shows promise and has enough talent to grow into a reserve swing tackle in the NFL – worth late round consideration.”

Cofield was a third-team All-ACC selection. His teammate quarterback Anthony Boone was signed by Detroit while Duke receiver Issac Blakeney was signed by the 49ers. Duke defensive end Jordan DeWalt-Ondigo, who was considered a possible draftee, signed with the Eagles.

The two UNC Tar Heel signed so far are cornerback Tim Scott, who was signed by the Cowboys, and tight end Jack Tabb, who was signed by the Saints. Scott impressed scouts with a 4.55 40-yard dash at UNC’s Pro Day prior to the draft but it wasn’t enough to get drafted.

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Skins get a character guy in Crowder who will make impact this year

Jamison Crowder.

Jamison Crowder.

Duke’s Jamison Crowder is planning on being a wide receiver in the NFL but he’ll make an immediate impact returning punts, and possibly kickoffs, for the Washington Redskins in 2015.

The Redskins chose the ACC’s all-time receiving leader with the sixth pick of the fourth round, 105th overall.

“I just want an opportunity to get in the league, and I wouldn’t want to play for no better team than the Redskins,” Crowder said during a teleconference with reporters. “I’m excited.”

Crowder, at just 5-foot-8 185-pounds, caught 283 passes for 3,641 yards and 23 touchdowns in his career.

“I feel like I’m one of the top receivers in this draft,” the Monroe native said. “I can go in and make an impact in the offense.”

But Redskins’ coach Jay Gruden sees Crowder as more of a force on special teams.

“We liked his big play ability,” Gruden said. “He can return punts, obviously. He’s going to be instant playmaker for us. That’s going to be a good one.”

The Redskins haven’t returned a punt for a touchdown since the 2008 season. Crowder, an All-America special teams player, returned four punts and one kickoff for touchdowns in college.

Gruden said the Redskins will look at Crowder as a kick returner as well.

“Special teams was something that I had great success with in college,” Crowder said. “I feel like that’s a way I can get on the field and be able to display my talents and abilities in the open field.”

Duke coach David Cutcliffe says the most important thing about Jamison is the type of person he is. “Jamison is another incredible example of a young man who has combined natural abilities with hard work to make his dreams come true,” he said. “Everyone sees his explosiveness and short space quickness, but it is his character that puts him in a very special category.”

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NFL Draft: Redskins take offensive lineman Scherff, a solid pick

Brandon Scherff.

Brandon Scherff.

The Washington Redskins turned away from flashy and picked a solid, NFL-ready offensive lineman in Iowa’s Brandon Scherff with the No. 5 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

While he can play tackle, he is likely to step into the Redskins lineup on day one at guard to join Trent Williams on the left side. It could turn the Redskins offensive line from a liability to a strength, just like that.

As a senior left tackle, the 6-foot-5, 320-pound Scherff won the Outland Trophy as the nation’s most outstanding interior lineman. He’s powerful, smart and consistent with good technique. And he’s concerned a high character, well-respected player, despite his reputation for being nasty on the field.

An added plus for picking Scherff is that most believed that NFL East rival New York Giants were hoping to get him with the ninth pick.

The Redskins passed on the flashier defensive end Leonard Williams, who most experts considered the best talent in the draft. With teams going for needs, and perhaps concerned about Williams’ shoulder, Williams dropped to the New York Jets with the 6th pick.

While Scherff was a surprise pick, perhaps Redskins new general manager Scot McCloughan tipped his hand a bit Monday when he said, “I think you want your tackles to be your bigger guys – taller and longer. With our guards and with Coach [Bill] Callahan and what our plans are is power. You know, in-line power. We’re talking 320-plus [pounds] hopefully, coming off, head-butting and going. We want to be able to run the football, it’s very important. It sets up everything else for us. The center, of course, is usually the leader. He needs to be highly intelligent, be able to read the defenses and make the checks he needs to make. But again, at any one of those positions, we want big guys, we want smart guys and we want tough guys. I’ll give a little bit on athletic ability – especially inside at guard and center – for just a consistent football player that gets out there every day and you know exactly what you’ve got.”

Draft Notes: Tarboro’s Todd Gurley, who played at Georgia, was chosen 10th by the St. Louis Rams… CBSSports’ Pete Prisco gives the Redskins only a B- for its pick of Scherff explaining, “They have a big need on the line, so I get it. This is a nice, solid pick — but not a wow pick, which they needed.” With all due respect, the Redskins have been burned more times than I can count by getting a player for the ‘wow’ factor.

redskinsscherff

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State’s Weiman earns softball ACC Pitcher of the Week honors

Emily Weiman.

Emily Weiman.

NC State softball player Emily Weiman has earned ACC Pitcher of the Week honors.

Weiman went 4-0 for the week and did not allow an earned or unearned run. The Pasadena, Maryland, native allowed just two hits and struck out six batters in her first appearance of the week to earn the win at Radford.

In her next outing of the week at home against NC Central, Weiman allowed a hit to the leadoff batter but did not allow another, striking out seven of the next 13 batters she would face to earn her second win of the week.

The senior was at her best when it mattered most, helping her team earn the doubleheader sweep at Virginia Tech on Sunday. She pitched a pair of complete game shutouts and was equally as effective in both games.

In game one of the twin bill, she fanned 11 Hokie batters including striking out the side in the second and third inning, getting three called strikeouts in the third inning. At one point in the contest, she retired 11 consecutive batters spanning from the first to the fourth inning. Weiman had at least one strikeout in every inning, with the exception of the fourth inning when she got three groundouts.

In the second game, she allowed a single in the first inning and was dominant from that point on to retire the next 20 batters to end the game without allowing another baserunner. More impressively, she did not allow another ball to be hit out of the infield after the third inning, as the remainder of the outs were strikeouts or groundouts.

She also picked up her 100th career win against NC Central on Thursday to become just the fifth pitcher in ACC history to reach 100 career wins and the first in Wolfpack history. Weiman finished the week with 30 strikeouts in 23 innings pitched and did not allow a run.

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UNC’s Gallen named Pitcher of the Week

Zac Gallen.

Zac Gallen.

North Carolina’s Zac Gallen has garnered ACC Pitcher of the Week accolades.

Gallen tossed his second straight home complete game and his first career shutout on Friday to beat Boston College 1-0. The sophomore from Glassboro, New Jersey, struck out eight and allowed just two walks and three hits, facing only five more than the minimum. With the win, he improved to 3-3 on the year and now holds a 2.98 ERA in conference play. Gallen has struck out 46 in 54.1 innings against ACC opponents with just 12 walks.

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Syracuse wins as Duke comeback comes up short in lacrosse finals

Kevin Rice.

Kevin Rice.

Third-seeded Syracuse overcame a slow start and held on late to beat fourth-seeded Duke, 15-14, to claim the 2015 ACC Men’s Lacrosse Championship Sunday at PPL Park in Philadelphia.

With the Orange leading 15-12, Thomas Zenker and Myles Jones scored for Duke within 24 seconds to make it a one-goal game with 2:32 remaining. The Syracuse defense then kept the Blue Devils from scoring the late equalizer as the Orange won its first ACC title in its second year in the league.

Kevin Rice, Randy Staats, and Nicky Galasso led the way for Syracuse (11-2) with three goals apiece.

Rice was named the Most Valuable Player after tallying seven points on three goals and four assists on Sunday and two goals and two assists in the semifinals on Friday.

“Playing two games in three days against top six teams is sort of what you will see in the Final Four,” said Rice. “To know we can go in and win a game the first day, get our preparation in quickly and get our bodies back and win another game at the end of the weekend is good to know moving forward.”

The 29 goals scored equaled the championship game record, set in each of the last two years. It marked the sixth time in league history that the title game was decided one goal.

Jack Bruckner posted five goals and Myles Jones chipped in with a hat trick to lead the Duke (11-5) offense.

The Orange converted on 3-of-4 extra-man opportunities, while Duke did not score on four attempts, including two in the fourth quarter.

“I think we understood who they were,” said Syracuse head coach John Desko on his defense against Duke’s man-up offense. “I give Bobby Wardwell a lot of credit for the saves that he made today. I was surprised with the numbers, the amount of situations and all over play. He saved us today.”

After giving up a goal less than a minute into the game to Nicky Galasso, Duke strung together five straight to grab control in the first quarter.

Syracuse opened up the second quarter with its own 5-0 run to take the lead, 7-6. Orange goalkeeper Bobby Wardwell made four saves in the frame to help Syracuse get back into the game.

“We did a better job with our possessions,” said Desko on the turnaround after the early deficit. “Especially in the first quarter, we had a lot of turnovers on the offensive end of the field and gave them the ball back. Every time we got a faceoff with Ben (Williams), I think that gave us a little spurt in those situations too. I think we got on a little bit of a roll and figured out who they were defensively and what they were doing.”

Dylan Donahue and Randy Staats scored the final two goals of the first half to give Syracuse a 9-7 lead heading into halftime.

Duke’s Jack Bruckner scored less than a minute after halftime to pull the Blue Devils to within one goal, but Syracuse answered with tallies from Rice and Galasso to push the lead to three, 11-8.

The third and fourth quarters saw back-and-forth action, with the Orange unable to pull away and the Blue Devils unable to tie the game.

Duke fired four shots in the last two minutes after pulling to within one goal, but could not get the last score needed to send the game to overtime.

“Defensively, we haven’t been overly outstanding over the course of the year,” said Duke head coach John Danowski. “We are playing so many young people in so many new positions. For our guys, it’s not so much a matter of preparing for your opponent as much as it is trying to get better ourselves and working on what we do.”

The Blue Devils outshot Syracuse, 43-35, and both teams grabbed 34 ground balls. Wardwell (11-2) made eight saves for the Orange in the victory.

Led by Kyle Rowe, Duke was 21-of-32 on faceoffs.

With the victory at PPL Park and the 9-8 sudden victory overtime win in the women’s tournament, Syracuse becomes the third school in ACC history to sweep the men’s and women’s titles.


All-Tournament Team

Kevin Rice, Syracuse (MVP)
Bobby Wardwell, Syracuse
Brandon Mullins, Syracuse
Nicky Galasso, Syracuse
Randy Staats, Syracuse
Jack Bruckner, Duke
Case Matheis, Duke
Kyle Rowe, Duke
Myles Jones, Duke
Chad Tutton, North Carolina
Nick Ossello, Notre Dame

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Syracuse women’s lacrosse stops Carolina in double OT

Kayla Treanor.

Kayla Treanor.

The path to an Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Lacrosse Championship title is never easy, but this year’s Syracuse team may be remembered as one that set a new standard for running a gauntlet.

Kayla Treanor’s sudden victory goal following double-overtime lifted the sixth-seeded Orange to a 9-8 win over top-seeded North Carolina in Sunday’s final at Klockner Stadium. It followed a familiar script for the tournament MVP, who also delivered a sudden-victory game-winner in Thursday night’s win over third-seeded Boston College.

Syracuse – deceptively seeded sixth in the tournament field but ranked seventh nationally – defeated the nation’s fourth-ranked team (Boston College), third-ranked team (Duke) and second-ranked squad (North Carolina) in a span of less than 72 hours en route to capturing its first ACC women’s lacrosse championship in two seasons as an ACC member.

The Orange (14-6) has grown accustomed to grinding out tough wins – Sunday’s match was its 10th of theseason decided by a single goal – and a determined defensive effort and execution of the fundamentals paid dividends. Syracuse won 16 of 21 draw controls (nine by Kailah Kempney) and limited UNC to eight goals on 30 shots.

Orange keeper Kelsey Richardson made 10 saves Sunday, and her 29 for the Championship were one shy of the tournament record. Her efforts helped Syracuse prevail on a day Tar Heel counterpart Caylee Waters was equally effective with 11 saves, giving her 26 in three tournament games.

Halle Majorana delivered a hat trick, and Treanor finished with two goals and an assist despite being marked effectively much of the day by UNC defensive ace Courtney Waite. Treanor tied an ACC Women’s Lacrosse Championship record with six assists in her three games.

The Tar Heels (15-3) fell short in their bid for their first ACC Women’s Lacrosse Championship since 2002 despite setting a tournament record for goals scored with 44. Aly Messinger paced UNC on Sunday with a pair of goals and an assist, and Marie McCool also scored a pair of goals for the Tar Heels.

Syracuse looked as if it might be set to win in regulation when a flurry of three unanswered goals by Riley Donahue, Treanor and Majorana put the Orange in front 8-5 with 7:16 remaining.

But with Messinger scoring one goal and assisting on another, UNC scrapped back to tie the score at 8-8 by the end of regulation. UNC actually held possession with a shot at the winning score in the waning seconds, but Richardson made the stop on Kelly Devlin’s attempt.

The second overtime period ended in similar high drama as Syracuse’s Taylor Gait worked for a close-range shot that just beat the final horn but was smothered in goal by UNC’s Waters, setting up sudden victory and Treanor’s decisive heroics.

The teams were tied 3-3 at the end of the first half that saw no scoring in the final 11:05. With Kempney, Erica Bodt and Majorana each scoring goals within a span of less than seven minutes, Syracuse grabbed a 3-0 lead in the early going.

UNC counted with three-goal run of its own to tie the score at 3-3 behind two goals from McCool and another from Messinger, who ran down a ground ball off a Syracuse turnover and charged in for an unassisted score.

The trio of Tar Heel goals came during a span of just over four minutes. The final 11 minutes of the half were ones of missed opportunities for both teams, as reflected by their six goals on 23 shots.

Sunday’s outcome, coupled with the ACC Men’s Lacrosse Championship title secured by the Orange earlier in the day at Chester, Pennsylvani, left Syracuse as just the third program in ACC history to sweep the women’s lacrosse and men’s championships, joining Virginia (2006) and Maryland (2011).

After entering the match ranked among the nation’s top seven ranked teams, UNC and Syracuse each anticipate high NCAA Tournament seedings when pairings are announced next weekend. The ACC is hopeful of placing as many as seven teams in the NCAA field.

The 2015 ACC Women’s Lacrosse All-Tournament Team:

Kayla Treanor, Syracuse (MVP)
Kelsey Richardson, Syracuse
Halle Majorna, Syracuse
Kailah Kempney, Syracuse
Mallory Vehar, Syracuse
Caylee Waters, North Carolina
Aly Messinger, North Carolina
Maggie Bill, North Carolina
Kelly Devlin, North Carolina
Kenzie Kent, Boston College
Kerrin Maurer, Duke
Barbara Sullivan, Notre Dame

– News release

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Both Tar Heel tennis teams lose to Virginia teams in ACCs

virginialogoThe men’s and women’s tennis teams from Virginia each defeated their North Carolina counterparts to earn spots in the ACC championship matches.

The Cavalier men cruised into the title game against Wake Forest, posting a 4-0 victory over North Carolina Cary (NC) Tennis Park. Virginia secured the doubles point before the rain came and moved action to Durham. After relocating, the ‘Hoos dominated the singles action, taking the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 6 points, all in straight sets. Mitchell Frank advanced the Cavaliers with a 7-5, 6-4 victory.

The Virginia women took down top-seeded and previously undefeated North Carolina, in a convincing 4-1 victory. The Cavaliers jumped out to a fast start, taking the doubles point with wins at the No. 1 and No. 3 slots. The ‘Hoos then ran away from the Tar Heels with straight set singles victories at the No. 2, No. 4 and No. 6 positions to clinch a spot in the title match.

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Duke upsets ND to earn trip to lacrosse finals vs. Syracuse, winners over UNC

acclaxDuke upset Notre Dame while Syracuse upset North Carolina to set up a Duke-Syracuse ACC lacrosse final Sunday.

Fourth-seeded Duke jumped out to a big lead and withstood a late comeback attempt to defeat top-seeded and No. 1-ranked Notre Dame, 13-8, Friday night in the semifinals of the 2015 ACC Men’s Lacrosse Championship at PPL Park in Philadelphia.

Second-ranked North Carolina came from down by three in the second half to tie fourth-ranked (third-seeded) Syracuse 8-8 in the fourth quarter. But, while the Tar Heels had held the Orange scoreless for almost 25 minutes, Syracuse’s Kevin Rice wrapped around from behind the goal to score with 1:48 left to give the Orange a 9-8 victory.

A controversial offsides call on UNC’s Chad Tutton, who had scored two straight goals to tie it at 8, ended any chance the Tar Heels had to come behind in the last minute.

“I thought it was a great call myself,” Syracuse coach John Desko said with a wry smile. “I didn’t really see it.”

Case Matheis led the way for Duke with four goals on seven shots, with Justin Guterding adding three goals in a rematch of the 2014 NCAA National Championship game. With the win, the Blue Devils improved to 11-4 and avenged a 15-10 regular season loss to the Irish on April 4.

“It’s awesome,” said Matheis on reaching the championship game. “In my first two years we lost in the semis. Those games are turning points in that they were losses. This time we won and it’s another turning point in building our confidence and building our team dynamic.”

UNC-Syracuse box score