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UNC tennis edges Duke to advance to ACC semifinals

UMC sophomore Jack Murray after match-clinching victory. (UNC Sports Information photo)

UMC sophomore Jack Murray after match-clinching victory. (UNC Sports Information photo)

With a spot in the ACC semifinals at stake, the fourth-seeded North Carolina men’s tennis team edged fifth-seeded Duke 4-3 on Friday in a marathon at Cary Tennis Park that lasted longer than four hours. The Tar Heels dropped the doubles point but battled back to tie the match at 3-3, setting up sophomore Jack Murray for his match-clinching victory on court four in a winner-take-all third set.

Carolina improves to 21-9 with the win, while the Blue Devils fall to 22-6.

Doubles play got off to a promising start for the Tar Heels, with Murray and fellow sophomore Ronnie Schneider notching an 8-5 victory over Duke’s pair of Raphael Hemmeler and Daniel McCall. However, the Blue Devils would take control on courts two and three to secure the point. At the No. 2 spot, senior Esben Hess-Olesen and sophomore Brayden Schnur rallied from down 6-3 to force a tiebreaker, but the duo ultimately fell to Duke’s Josh Levine and Jason Tahir 8-7. With the doubles point up for grabs, Carolina’s 39th-ranked pair of junior Brett Clark and freshman Robert Kelly dropped a rare match at the hands of TJ Pura and Bruno Semenzato, 8-6. The loss snapped Clark and Kelly’s nine-match win streak that dated back to Feb. 20 at Texas.

Singles competition did not disappoint for the UNC fans that ventured out to Cary Tennis Park. The Tar Heels were able to tally four wins – including three in three sets – to steal a win from its archrival.

The Tar Heels will be back in action on Saturday at 10 a.m. against top-seeded Virginia in the semifinals. The Cavaliers are 2-0 versus UNC this season.


Doeren talks about Wolfpack spring football

Dave Doeren.

Dave Doeren.

DAVE DOEREN: It was a good spring.
We got a lot accomplished. I was really pleased
with how hard our guys practiced and put the
momentum from the end of our season, winning 4
of the last 5 games, and entered the off-season
with a lot of good energy, good confidence. Guys
learned, as a young team, the do’s and don’ts of
preparation, I think, and saw the results in how we
played at the end of the year.
It was fun to be the head coach here this
spring. There was just a lot of competition a
various positions. The way Jacoby and Jalan
threw the ball around.
We had several players we held out, just
being banged up like we were after the Bowl
game, trying to get David Grinnage and several
defensive linemen healthy. So a lot of young guys
were able to take part in the drill work.
Saw great strides on the offensive line.
Tyler Jones at left tackle had a great spring, got a
lot better for us. Will Richardson got better and
better and better as we went.
It’s good to have our inside three back,
Quinton Schooley, Joe Thuney, and Tony Adams
are very veteran, good players with good chemistry
playing well together.
Alex Barr returns. The guy has three
years of experience on the O-line and is very
motivated to have a great senior year.
Benson Browne and David Grinnage,
Jaylen Samuels did some good things at tight end.
I had a receiver, Bra’Lon Cherry, had a really good
finish to his spring. He was a little banged up at
the beginning and finished really strong.
It was great to have Gavin Locklear back.
He had an injury last season in the summer. One
of the best leaders in the receiver room and did a
nice job being a constant presence for the
quarterback position.
We moved a young man over to receiver
named Elliott Davis from DB, and he did a nice job.
He was probably the most explosive player. And
Jumichael Ramos probably made the most big
plays in the position group. Running back, Matt
Dayes and Shad Thornton and we have a
freshman that’s here already, Reggie Gallaspy,
that had nice springs for us.
On defense we have a lot of players back
with experience. If we counted the other day,
there’s nine different guys in our secondary, if you
include our nickels, that played for us last year —
three linebackers, five or six defensive linemen.
So excited, even though we’re young,
we’re experienced. Experienced sophomore
teams, experienced junior class, probably the
biggest question mark going into the fall will just be
the production at the kicker and punter position
because we lost such veteran players there, two
four-year starters.
So the kids here competed hard this spring
and was impressed with them, but it’s going to be
about game day for that position.
Spring game here was tremendous, had a
great crowd, a lot of people here supporting not
only the football team, but the Kay Yow spring
game raised over $16,000. So very thankful for
that. Look forward to a good summer.

Q. I know you brought up Jacoby
(Brissett) and Jalan (McClendon and just what
you can say about each of them individually,
how they looked through the spring.
DAVE DOEREN: Yeah, they looked great.
Both of them can make every throw. They’re very
competitive. Jalan is going through kind of a
learning curve we saw Jacoby in two springs ago,
how to manage the clock and how to take care of
the huddle, and when we want to go fast, how to
operate. He’s got tremendous leadership skills,
very competitive and super coachable. It’s fun
watching him progress through the spring.
And Jacoby on the other side of it has just
turned into such a great manager of what we do
and very consistent, doesn’t have a lot of change
in his personality, good play, bad play. Just keeps
playing, and excited to have both those guys in the
quarterback room.

Q. As far as how you kind of look at it
going into the fall, is Jacoby the guy for you?
Or is Jalan someone who can fight his way
getting the opportunity? How do you view your
quarterbacks going forward?
DAVE DOEREN: Jacoby is our starting
quarterback, there’s no doubt. He’s a senior. He
played his butt off as a junior, excited for him. But
also excited to have a guy as good as Jalan
behind him. You can look at Ohio State and see
how important your next quarterback is, and for
them, the next and the next.
We’re not going to enter the season with a
controversy or anything like that. We’re just
excited about the quality of both of our guys, and
we hope that we can get Jalan some great minutes
and get him ready to be the guy in it case that
would happen.

Q. Coach Doeren, can you talk about
how Darian Roseboro acclimated himself as a
freshman that graduated early from high
school, from Lincolnton?
DAVE DOEREN: Absolutely. I just met
with him today. Had a great conversation. He’s
grown up a lot. I’m just really glad he was able to
come in early. He has such a great family. I knew
homesickness would be an is
sue, and it was. I’m glad he didn’t have to go through that during the
fall semester.
But he got over it pretty quickly and is
really acclimated. Took a lot of reps with our
starting defense because Mike Rose is out for
spring with an injury. So he was the beneficiary of
a ton of repetitions, and I know that made him so
much better. He had two great plays in the spring
So excited for Darian. Now it’s just going
to be a matter of getting some shape so he can
play the way he wants to play every snap, and the
conditioning factor that’s just completely different
than the high school level.

Q. He played all over the map in high
school, including offense. Is there any thought
to do that with him at your level, or do you see
him as a defensive lineman specifically?
DAVE DOEREN: He’ll be a D-lineman. I
have used D-linemen in goal line packages before.
If we get to the point where we feel he can help us
win, we’ll have that conversation. Right now he’s
trying to learn what side of the ball he’s on and do
all the things we need him to do at D-line, so I think
it’s premature for that.

Q. Coach, what have you seen from the
defensive units as a whole this spring that has
impressed you more than anything else?
DAVE DOEREN: A lot of the guys are
back. So the chemistry, their ability to
communicate with each other and know where
each other is going to be. We do a lot of things
offensively here. So you have to be able to adjust
and make your calls and adjust your rules all the
time. You just see how well they function as a unit
together now.
Last year there were three new starters in
the secondary. So there was a lot of new things
happening, there was new starters at every
position. We have a lot of guys back that have
taken valuable game reps, and it’s just a lot more
We’re building off what we did last year. I
think we finished the season bringing a lot of
different pressures, and it helped our kids. We’ve
built on that here in the off-season. The guys are
excited about what they’re doing, and they
understand what’s asked, and where the strengths
and weaknesses of the calls are.

Q. Good afternoon. You’ve got some
holes to fill on the starting offensive and
defensive lines. How do those holes look to
you coming out of the spring?
DAVE DOEREN: I’m excited about our
D-line. Mike Rose is back. So is B.J. Hill, who
played in every game as a true freshman last year,
started almost all of them. Kentavius Street, we’ve
moved to D-tackle and had a really good spring.
Bradley Chubb was probably one of the best
surprises of the spring on the defensive line.
And then we had a number of players that
played last year that are coming back in the fall
from injuries — Monty Nelson, Justin Jones, Garrett
Bradbury. So we feel good about the depth, and
we recruited well on that side of the ball.
We’ve got four D-linemen coming in here
in less than a month. So excited to get those four
bodies in here too. Two defensive ends that are
6’5″ and 6’7″, and two D-tackles that are over 220
pounds. So we’re happy with the D-line.
On offensive line, I already mentioned the
three starters that are back, in Alex Barr and Tyler
Jones, had a really good spring, and Will
Richardson, who’s gotten better and better and
better. Bryce Kennedy, who we need to step up
this summer, and did some good things, just needs
to be more consistent.
We have a junior college tackle, Darius
Workman, that will be here in May, and three high
school tackles that will be here in June. So we’re
going to be a little bit younger filling those holes
possibly on the offensive line than we are on the
defensive line, but we like who we have to work

Q. Coach, last time we talked was right
after the spring game. I was wondering, now
that you’ve had a chance to go back and watch
the film, what stood out to you about that?
DAVE DOEREN: Well, the way we took
care of the ball on offense. There was a lot of
snaps in that game, and there was no turnovers.
Defensively, we tackled pretty well. I thought there
were some great runs by some of the backs, Matt
Dayes and Reggie and Shad had a really nice run
after the catch. The quarterbacks did a nice job
taking care of the football.
Defensively, I think we’re stopping the run
about our first defense very well, and the second
defense has got to step up a little bit. Part of that’s
the guys that were out of the game.
You just see a bunch of guys that know the
systems, that are playing within it and know whato do, playing fast.
And some of the backup guys, Shawn Boone played with the ones all day, did a
great job. Jermaine Pratt came in and did a great
job. It was fun to see some of the freshmen get
out there and make plays, Reggie and Darian and
James Smith Williams and Riley Nicholson and
Ford Howell. There are some young players that
just got here that are out here playing and playing
Really what I saw was what I thought it
was going to be. Offensive line-wise, I think we got
bodies on bodies. We picked up pressures pretty
well. We need to work on our vertical movement in
the run game, displacing people, creating some
bigger lanes for our backs. That’s why you play
those games so you can find the things that you’ve
got to focus on for the summer.

Q. Now that (Pharoah) McKever had a
full season on defense and is starting to feel
more comfortable on that side of the ball, how
much more of a weapon can he be for you this
DAVE DOEREN: It depends how strong
he can get. He’s a guy that was a role player a
year ago. Was a good pass rush, third down type
guy that could do a lot of different things in our
third down package. We’d like him to be a first-
down, second-down, third-down player.
When you go from receiver, quarterback,
safety, to D-line, there’s a huge curve when it
comes to playing the run. Pass rush, an athlete’s
an athlete. But in the run game, you’ve really got
to be able to bend and be strong and handle
double teams and different blocking schemes.
So for Pharaoh, his biggest progress is
going to come from his strength. He knows that.
He’s just going to grind all summer and get
stronger and stronger. He improved a lot in the
spring, and I think that’s the biggest thing, to see
him go from being a role player to an every down
starter is just going be to the lower body strength.

Q. How much weight has he gained
since the end of the season?
DAVE DOEREN: Not too much. He’s still
around the same weight. He’s just trying to make
sure he’s got the right weight, getting rid of body fat
and turning everything into lean muscle. He’s a big
old guy. I mean, I don’t even know his exact
weight right now. I met with him the other day, and
he said he’s been maintaining. So it’s really not
going to be his weight that matters as much as his


Cutcliffe talks about Duke spring football

David Cutcliffe.

David Cutcliffe.

DAVID CUTCLIFFE: As Mike mentioned,
February 28th we had our spring game. We
started immediately after national Signing Day in
recruiting. So we were pleased. Obviously, the
big questions were replacing a big defensive front.
Four of our starters are gone. Lose two
outstanding longtime starters
on the offensive line.
And then replacing Anthony Boone and
Jamison Crowder and David Helton, very
productive players for us. David leading the ACC
in tackles the last two years. Anthony, the
winningest quarterback in Duke football history.
And Jamison Crowder, who has caught more
passes than anyone other than Conner Vernon in
ACC football history.
So that’s our focus. We like our team. We
like their work ethic. We just have to go see what
we can do on the field at this point. Our guys are
working hard in the off-season, which is a great
thing to see.
I’ll take your questions.

Q. I know that it’s kind of off the
football field, but the Penn relays this weekend,
you have a few guys, and I know you like your
fast guys to get faster, so DeVon Edwards,
Ryan Smith, just what you can say how
important it is to have some of these guys do
track and field before they go to football?
DAVID CUTCLIFFE: It started early in my
career at the University of Tennessee when Stan
Huntsman was our track coach. We had a lot of
people — Willie Gault, Sam Graddy probably being
the most well-known that were extremely
successful in both sports, and they go hand in
hand, and I like our speed.
We have more guys that
can run, but also they love it, and one of the things I do is I make
sure they’re doing every other thing right before we
let them do it, and DeVon and Ryan continue to
earn that opportunity. And DeVon Edwards is
probably our fastest player on our squad, and I say
probably because it would be a good race.
But I’m happy for them, and I think it’s
great for Duke track and field. Those guys — last
year we had a full group run 400 meters, and they
almost set the school record the first time out. So
I’m happy for them. It should be fun.

Q. And then as far as the spring, just
what you were able to take away, maybe some
of the leaders that you saw step up for you
coming out of spring, some of those guys that
really have meant something to you as far as
DAVID CUTCLIFFE: I think on the
defensive side, it was very evident, starting with
Jeremy Cash, the entire secondary. DeVon
Edwards, who we already talked about, Deondre
Singleton, Bryon Fields, Breon Borders. We
returned our entire secondary, and those guys
have great energy and tempo.
We’ll just flip quickly over to the offensive
side, Matt Skura, our fine center. Lucas Patrick,
the returning guard, that are both seniors that just
really do a tremendous job. Shaquille Powell is as
good a leader as I’ve been around, our starting
tailback. And Max McCaffery out at wide receiver.
So I thought our habits, our work habits all
spring were outstanding, really based — and Carlos
Wray, I should mention in our defensive front.
Those guys really did set a tempo along with the
returning of Kelby Brown and Braxton Deaver, who
are back, thank goodness, for sixth years. So you
really like this team’s temperament and work

Q. I wanted to ask you about the
defensive front. Since you’ve had a couple of
months now since spring practice ended, what
have you seen from your film review of spring
ball and the way that group got their work
DAVID CUTCLIFFE: Well, I was really
pleased with our starters, really good spring. A.J.
Wolf solidified himself starting alongside Carlos
Wray, and he has just become more and more
powerful and has done a nice job of improving
himself. And he’s played a lot of football, but he’s
ready and showed that.
Kyler Brown had a great spring. He’s
comfortable at defensive end. Britton Grier is
coming into his own. Both of those guys played a
lot of football, but they
played like seniors.
And then I was pleased what we have with
our young people inside, Mike Ramsey, Quaven
Ferguson, Edgar Cerenord, Keilin Rayner. And
then on the outside, we moved Allen Jackson
outside, and I thought he had a really good spring.
Deion Williams finished strong. Marquies Price,
who is a midyear guy, got a ways to go, but he
could be as talented as anybody we’ve ever had.
So just a lot of positives about our
defensive front, and the more we study it, the more
we like what we’re seeing. And then I think,
obviously, we do believe we have some guys
coming in here this summer to join us that could
impact us. So I think that’s another great part of
what we’re looking at from a depth standpoint.

Q. One followup. You mentioned Kelby
and Braxton. I know they didn’t work out in
spring ball, but how are they coming along with
their injuries? Do you expect any drawbacks
for them come the start of practice?
DAVID CUTCLIFFE: No. They’ll be full
speed. They’re close to that now. There’s no
benefit in rushing them out there. Their rehab is
going outstanding. Both of them feel good. Their
presence, their leadership presence was felt all
They did a great job of being out on the
field, basically coaching, encouraging, challenging.
It’s like having, instead of
9 assistant coaches this
spring, it was like having 11, seriously. So I
thought they impacted our spring practice in a big

Q. Just curious the last couple years
with your guys’ recent success, how much
easier, how much more receptive, have you
seemed to notice a difference on the road in
recruiting and going out on the road? How
much difference is it for you guys?
DAVID CUTCLIFFE: I can go back to
pinpoint all the way back to playing Texas A&M in
a great slot, national television slot on New Year’s
Eve, where so many people saw us. I think that
was a turning point in recruiting because people
view you differently, and they do view us
differently, thank goodness. So it’s helped without
We’ve always had great name recognition.
I think people know that and believe that we do
things the right way, but kids want to win. When
you win, it certainly impacts everything about your
program. Also, the other part of it is, when you
win, you have a lot of continuity within your staff,
and I’m very pleased with our coaching staff. I
think we have as fine a coaching staff as there is in
the country.

Q. Obviously, Thomas Sirk got a head
start because he’s got game experience, but
have you seen anybody step forward in the
quarterback race this spring? Where does that
situation stand?
DAVID CUTCLIFFE: Right now Thomas
Sirk is our number one. Parker Boehme is our
number two, and Parker had a great spring. I’ve
just gained more and more confidence in both of
them. I trust both of them in every aspect of who
they are, which is fun as the coach. They’re
talented. They throw it well.
They will be the pair, and then you throw
Nico Pierre is number three. As a threesome,
they’re the best running quarterbacks we’ve ever
had, but these guys can throw it. I thought
Thomas Sirk had a great spring throwing the
football. He’s a big guy, 6’5″, 220. He’s got touch.
He’s got great arm strength, and then he can
create as well as Parker.
So it’s just going to be an interesting
continuing battle, but it’s obviously one of the
things we like to do is play multiple quarterbacks.
You just mentioned it. I believe these guys are
going to allow us to do that.

Q. Just out of curiosity, how much
bump, or do you get one at all for what the
basketball team did last month?
DAVID CUTCLIFFE: It’s awesome. Love
it. People think Duke, they think winning. It’s just
an all around positive impact for our university, and
Duke basketball has been for a long time.
We won the championship back in 2010
and we felt it. You’re in the public eye, and we
have already felt it again. So we are thrilled for
them, proud of them, but we certainly benefit from

Q. Good afternoon. Obviously, you
lost a very talented receiver, as you said, you
lost a couple of receivers and a couple of
offensive linemen. How do those positions
look to you coming out of the spring?
DAVID CUTCLIFFE: We had veterans,
Cody Robinson and Tanner Stone, competing for
that right guard spot. Our left tackle spot, we have
a sophomore, Gabe Brandner, that ended up
number one.
I thought he had a great spring. I feel
good. I feel better about our depth. We have
some good young talent, and some of them have
now played some. So really not backed up in
many places where people haven’t played in the
offensive line, which I think is important.
I thought our receivers had an exceptional
spring. I thought Jeff Faris, our receiver coach, set
a great tempo. You lose Jamison. You lose Isaac
Blakeney, who were two of our starters. We got
Max McCaffery and Johnell, who we considered
starters, Johnell Barnes. And our young people
really got better. Ryan Smith really got better.
We got a receiving corps, and I think that our depth
is better, and we will be able to play more people.
Again, I thought from practice habits and overall
drill performance, which is a lot of what spring
practice is, our receivers led the way for our team.
So I was pleased with their work.


Fedora talks about UNC’s spring football

UNC's Larry Fedora.

UNC’s Larry Fedora.

LARRY FEDORA: We had, I thought, a
very productive spring. We really wanted to work
on the fundamentals and techniques that we were
going to need, especially in a new defensive
scheme. We wanted to continue developing depth
in our offensive line and defensive line and at other
positions so that we could have some good
competition, and I think — I’d say for the most part,
we got all those things accomplished.

Q. Just wanted to ask you about
quarterback Marquise
Williams, his rehab,
where he’s at, kind of how everything is going
with him as he progresses forward.
LARRY FEDORA: Yeah, I’d say things are
going very well. They tell us that he’s ahead of
schedule, and I think when he had his last checkup
in Nashville, they told him that these next four
weeks was a very crucial time because he feels
like he’s 100 percent, and so this is when they see
most of the recurring injuries, and so we have to be
very careful with him right now. He’s got to be —
stick to the plan. But we anticipate him being back
here full speed in just a few weeks.

Q. What was it like for you to go
through spring without him? Were you able to
assess a lot about the offense despite the fact
that he wasn’t there?
LARRY FEDORA: Oh, yeah, yeah. I
mean, what we did was Mitch Trubisky ran with the
1s so he got a lot of reps, a lot of meaningful reps,
and then you have Caleb Henderson and Anthony
Ratliff that were there that also got reps with the
2s. So I thought it was beneficial. We made the
most of it. I would have loved for ‘Quise to be
there so he could have gotten a bunch of reps, but
he has the most reps of anybody in the offense,
and so if it had to happen to anybody, I think it was good for him.

Q. Kind of piggy-backing on the last
question, was Marquise’s situation something
that happened during the season or was it
something that occurred after the season was
over? And given the fact that Trubisky has
gotten so much more work in spring practice,
do you anticipate the quarterback situation
being similar to last year or do you see Mitch
getting a little bit more reps during game
LARRY FEDORA: Yeah, it did happen to
him at a point in the season. I couldn’t tell you
exactly the time that it happened, but as you
watched his production as the season went on, I
think the wear and tear on the injury, it hampered
him a little bit.
I think right now we’ve got some great
competition right there,
which we’re trying to
establish, and we are. We’ve got some depth
there. Marquise is our starting quarterback, and
I’m looking forward to watching those guys
compete in fall camp, but Marquise, I anticipate
Marquise taking that first snap against South
Carolina and getting after it.

Q. I know you guys when it comes to
recruiting have been affected by all the
uncertainty with the NCAA investigation.
Wondering what you’ve been telling kids, just
kind of about that in terms of the timeline of it,
and are you familiar with any kind of — anything
going on with that in terms of the timeline of it?
LARRY FEDORA: No, really, I mean, to
be honest with you, all we do is try to tell kids that
we’re at the mercy of the NCAA. Whenever it
happens, it happens. We don’t have a timeline.
No one has given us any information.
I feel pretty confident in what — I know I
feel confident in what we’re doing since we’ve been
here, so right now we’re just — we’ll just have to
wait and see what they say.

Q. What, if anything, can you glean in
terms of the season opener from the game two
years ago in Columbia, and can you really
evaluate any of it just because there’s been so
many changes on both sides of the ball for the
LARRY FEDORA: Well, they’re still a very
strong football team, there’s no doubt about it, and
we’ll find out where we match up and how much
improvement we’ve made as a football team and in
recruiting and in developing and all those things.
There will be some guys that play in the game that
played in it a couple years ago, and hopefully
those guys are — because we
played a lot of young
guys in that game, and so hopefully those guys
have grown up and they’re
better football players
at this time.

Q. With Gene Chizik coming aboard as
defensive coordinator, what has this spring
told you about the impact he’s going to have
on your defense, both him and his scheme?
LARRY FEDORA: Well, obviously Gene is
going to have a tremendous impact on our
defense. He’s running it. We have a completely
new scheme, and I would say with the additions of
John Papuchis and Charlton Warren and the
things that they’ve brought also from Nebraska, it’s
a great mixture between the two.
But Gene is in charge of it. I mean, he’s
installing his style of coachi
ng, his style of way, the
way he wants those guys to play. Yeah, I’m just
excited about seeing the end result once the
season gets here.

Q. You’ve got a great core coming
back, but one place where you’ve got a little
gap are your two kickers. I wonder if you can
tell us what you saw in spring, who looked
good, and how you see that going forward.
LARRY FEDORA: Well, I thought both of
them progressed. I mean, we got three guys really
competing for that job, for the place kicking. I think
Weiler will definitely be our kickoff guy this next
year. He did a tremendous job last year, and he’ll
continue to do that this next year. But he is
competing with the other two guys this spring. I
thought they all made progress. I thought they
were all better than we were during the season, so
you know, I anticipate us getting much more
production out of that position.

Q. Is there one particular area on
defense you think you made the most
improvement this spring looking at it from last
LARRY FEDORA: Yeah, I would say our
secondary. You know, just the things that we’ve
changed in our secondary. Also those guys
have — they’ve all got a year
of experience in, and
also as far as just playing and being out there, but
they’ve adapted well to the new scheme and the
new techniques that Gene and Charl want them to
play back there, so I would say coming out of
spring, I’d say that would have been the most
productive area.


Carolina third in Learfield Sports Cup; ACC well represented

tarheelslogoSeven Atlantic Coast Conference schools rank among the top 26 of the 2014-15 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup Division I Standings following the completion of the fall and winter sports seasons.

The ACC is tied for the most among all conferences with four schools ranked among the top 12 and seven ranked among the top 30. The ACC’s 12 schools ranked among the top 65 also tie for the most of any conference. Nine ACC schools rank among the top 50, while 13 of the conference’s 15 schools earned sports among the top 84.

The Duke men’s NCAA basketball championship highlighted the winter season for the ACC, which also saw the Notre Dame women’s basketball team place second nationally. A total of 18 teams from ACC schools posted national top-10 finishes in the sports of basketball, fencing, swimming and diving, wrestling and ice hockey.

North Carolina holds third place in the overall scoring with 823.5 points and is joined in the top-10 by Notre Dame in ninth place with 601.5.

Florida State ranks 11th with 597.5 points, followed by Virginia in 12th place with 571.

NC State (22nd place with 466.5 points), Duke (25th place with 450.5) and Louisville (26th with 449.5) round out the ACC’s representation among the top 30.

Virginia Tech ranks 41st (392 points), Syracuse 48th (344.5), Miami 58th (248), Clemson 59th (244.5), Boston College 65th (217), Pitt 84th (145), Georgia Tech 105th (110) and Wake Forest 172nd (50).

Complete standings and the scoring structure can be found on NACDA’s website at www.directorscup.org.

The Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup was developed as a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and USA Today. Points are awarded based on each institution’s finish in up to 20 sports — 10 women’s and 10 men’s.

The first standings of the spring sports season will be released on Thursday, May 28.


Top-seeded Heels women’s lacrosse advances to ACC semis

uncwomensxcrossSenior Kelly Devlin led UNC with a career-high four goals, three of which came in the second half. Sydney Holman scored three goals while assisting on three others, and Maggie Bill added a hat trick for the Tar Heels (14-2).

Top-seeded North Carolina responded to eighth-seeded Virginia Tech’s challenge.

After trailing much of the first half and holding just a one-goal lead at intermission, the Tar Heels eased away for an 18-12 victory Thursday in the opening quarterfinal game of the 2015 Atlantic Coast Women’s Lacrosse Championship at Klockner Stadium.

“The biggest difference between the two halves is that shots started falling in the second half,” UNC coach Jenny Levy said. “I thought Meg Ward and Caylee Waters did a nice job of coming in and making saves. They scored 7 of their 9 shots in the first half, and that is not something that Caylee (Waters) has done much, but she will be better tomorrow. We don’t lack any confidence in her, but I also think that shooters had their hands free and had nice shots. We were happy with the effort today. I thought we were sloppy in a lot of places and obviously tomorrow is a new day and we will play a lot better tomorrow than we did today.”

All-ACC attack Megan Will scored three goals – all in the first half – for the Hokies (6-11), and fellow senior Meg Bartley also had a hat trick.

The nationally second-ranked Tar Heels will carry a six-game winning streak into Friday’s 1 p.m. semifinal matchup against the winner of Thursday’s second quarterfinal game between fourth-seeded Virginia and fifth-seeded Notre Dame. UNC improved to 21-0 all-time versus Virginia Tech with Thursday’s win, including a pair of victories this season.

UNC led 8-7 at the end of a first half that proved a study in contrasts in scoring production. Virginia Tech’s Will already had her hat trick by intermission, while seven different players scored the Tar Heels’ first seven goals.

The first UNC player to score multiple goals – junior attack Aly Messinger – connected for her second score with one second showing on the first-half clock to provide the Tar Heels with their halftime edge.

UNC outshot the Hokies 24-10 in the first half, and Virginia Tech keeper Meagh Graham already had 10 saves at the break. She finished with 12 for the game.

Messinger, Carly Reed and Marie McCool all finished with two goals for the Tar Heels. McCool also scooped up four ground balls and caused a pair of turnovers.


UNC, Duke square off in ACC men’s tennis tourney in Cary

Screenshot (77)CARY – The quarterfinal field for the 2015 ACC Women’s Tennis Championship in Cary, N.C. is set, as Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech and North Carolina advance for a chance to earn a berth in the semifinals.

Clemson moved on to the quarterfinals by upsetting No. 6 Louisville, 4-3. The Tigers grabbed the doubles point against the Cardinals and held on down the stretch for the victory. Hampton Drake sealed the match for Clemson in the final singles tout. The Tigers will face No. 3 Wake Forest Friday (April 24) at 9 a.m.

Duke breezed to a first round victory over No. 12 Miami, 4-0. The Blue Devils earned the doubles point on back-to-back 8-4 wins by the No. 1 and No. 2 duos, never looking back. Josh Levine earned the match clinching point at No. 5 singles. Duke will play No. 4 North Carolina Friday at 12 p.m.

Florida State edged No. 9 NC State, 4-2, in a marathon match lasting 4 hours and 18 minutes. The Seminoles advanced behind a doubles point and victories at the No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 singles positions. Florida State will face top-seeded Virginia Friday at 9 a.m.

Georgia Tech blanked No. 7 Notre Dame, 4-0, earning a spot in Friday’s quarterfinals. The Yellow Jackets took the doubles point and then received huge contributions from the bottom of its lineup with No. 4, No 5 and No. 6 singles players all getting victories. Georgia Tech will square off with No. 2 Virginia Tech at 9 a.m. Friday.

North Carolina cruised to a 4-0 victory over No. 13 Boston College, grabbing the doubles points and setting the tone. The Tar Heels would get dominant performances from their No. 2, No. 4 and No. 5 singles players, all victorious in straight sets. North Carolina will face No. 5 Duke tomorrow at 12 p.m.

– News release


Sankey among five Tar Heels named to All-ACC lacrosse team

UNC Joey Sankey.

UNC Joey Sankey.

Eleven student-athletes on the Tewaaraton Award watch list highlight this year’s All-Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Lacrosse Team, as announced today by the conference office. The team was determined by a vote of the league’s five head coaches.

North Carolina and Syracuse each had five student-athletes named to the All-ACC Team. Notre Dame, which went undefeated in league play (4-0) and earned the ACC regular-season title, has four members on the squad. Duke has three, followed by Virginia with one.

Jake Bailey, Jimmy Bitter, Ryan Kilpatrick, Joey Sankey and Chad Tutton represent North Carolina, while Syracuse placed Dylan Donahue, Nicky Galasso, Brandon Mullins, Kevin Rice and Ben Williams on the All-ACC Team. Notre Dame’s selections are Conor Doyle, Matt Kavanagh, Matt Landis and Sergio Perkovic.

Deemer Class, Will Haus and Mylse Jones represent Duke, and Matt Barrett is Virginia’s selection on this year’s All-ACC Team.

North Carolina’s Sankey, a senior attackman from Warminster, Pennslyvania, earned his third straight All-ACC nod, while teammates Bitter and Tutton are repeat selections from a season ago. Also earing repeat honors are Duke’s Class and Jones, Notre Dame’s Kavanagh, and Syracuse’s Mullins and Rice. Orange teammate Nicky Galasso also earns All-ACC honors for the second time in his career as he was an All-ACC selection in 2011 as a freshman at North Carolina.

Syracuse’s Donahue leads the ACC with 3.45 goals per game and ranks fifth in the nation in that category. North Carolina’s Bitter (4.93), Syracuse’s Rice and Donahue (4.73) and Duke’s Jones (4.64) rank 1-4 among conference players in points per game, and rank seventh, eighth and 11th, respectively among all NCAA Division I players.

Williams, a sophomore from Mendota Heights, Minnesota, owns the league’s top faceoff percentage (.693), a mark that ranks second in NCAA Division I, while leading the nation in ground balls per game with 10.0.

Virginia’s Barrett has been solid in the net for the Cavaliers with a 10.92 goals against average over an ACC-high 741:27 in net, and has made 172 saves this season.

The 2015 ACC Men’s Lacrosse Championship gets underway with two semifinal games Friday at PPL Park right outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Top-seeded Notre Dame faces No. 4 Duke at 5:30 p.m., followed by No. 2 North Carolina vs. No. 3 Syracuse at 8 p.m. Virginia will play Penn in the ACC-Penn Classic on Saturday night at 7:30, followed by Sunday’s 1 p.m. title game between Friday evening’s winners.

ESPNU will broadcast the Friday evening semifinals and Sunday’s championship game, while ESPN3 will show the ACC-Penn Classic on Saturday. The semifinals and championship games will also be available on the WatchESPN app.

Individual awards, including Offensive Player, Defensive Player, Coach and Freshman of the Year, will be voted on by the league’s head coaches following the ACC Championship.


Tar Heels could have played better but not much better

Roy Williams.

Roy Williams.

“I like the way my team fought and I like the way they guarded,” UNC coach Roy Williams said after the season-ending loss to Wisconsin.

I’m not sure the Tar Heels could have played much better, except for that two-minute stretch when Wisconsin went on a 9-0 run and never trailed again.

After a backdoor play that put the Badgers up by a point with six minutes to go, UNC probably should have called a timeout. I know how Coach Williams likes to hold on to those timeouts. But, in hindsight, perhaps Carolina could have ended the run. Instead, Wisconsin scored four more points to go up by five.

The Tar Heels could never catch up.

I thought that if the Tar Heels could avoid turning the ball over and stayed out of foul trouble, they had a decent shot to upset the Badgers. And Carolina only committed four turnovers the whole game but the Heels didn’t stay out of foul trouble.

They also missed too many free throws and allowed an 8-0 run in the first half and that 9-0 run in the second half.

Had Brice Johnson, who was in foul trouble, been able to play 30 minutes rather than 22 minutes and had the Heels hit just a couple more free throws, they could have still won.

When Carolina went small, as much by necessity as anything else, the Badgers controlled the boards. One big offensive rebound late led to a kick-out three that took the lead from 65-64 to 68-64 with just over three minutes to go.

We couldn’t finish on defense in key possessions (in the second half),” UNC’s Marcus Paige. “But we played intense the whole game.”

Carolina needed some help from Wisconsin at the end but the Badgers hit all eight of their free throw attempts in the last 42 seconds.

The three-point shot kept Carolina in it throughout including two big ones late by Paige.

“We made some big plays,” Coach Williams said. “We just didn’t make enough of ’em.”

He feels good about the fact that, unless someone foolishly turns pro or transfers or something, all the key players from this year’s team will be back next season.

“They can use this as fuel,” he said of the loss. “If we can take care of those little lapses (referring to late runs by Notre Dame in the ACC Tournament and by Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament), we have a chance to be one of those teams that has a chance to win it all.”


Late Badger run ends UNC’s season

Sam Dekker.

Sam Dekker.

Underdog North Carolina led No. 1 seed Wisconsin most of the way and were still ahead with seven minutes to go but the Badgers went on a 9-0 over the next two minutes to seize control and hit free throws down the stretch to hold off the Tar Heels 79-72. (3/26)

The Sweet 16 loss eliminated Carolina from the NCAA Tournament.

“You have to congratulate Wisconsin. They’re really, really tough kids,” UNC coach Roy Williams said. “The difference between winning and losing is so small. We came down (with a four-point lead) with JP (Tokoto) in the open court and couldn’t convert, and then they scored nine in a row.”

The run, highlighted by reserve Zak Showalter’s four points and a steal, erased a 60-56 Carolina lead and put the Badgers up 65-60 with five minutes to go.

But Carolina, which went 8 for 13 from beyond the three-point line, didn’t fold – cutting it to two twice and to one twice.

Marcus Paige hit a three a shade to the right of the key to cut the lead to 69-67 with 1:39 left and then he hit a three from the same spot with 54 seconds left that cut the deficit to 71-70.

Down by three, UNC’s Isaiah Hicks missed two free throws that forced the Tar Heels to foul. But Wisconsin went eight of eight from the free throw line over the last 42 seconds to wrap it up.

In fact, the Badgers outscored the Tar Heels by eight points (20-12) from the foul line. Wisconsin just missed three free throws all night while Carolina missed three free throws in the last 2:49 and eight over the entire game.

Even though Carolina’s big men got in foul trouble and even though the subsequently taller Badgers outrebounded the Heels 35-28, UNC led most of the way.

An 8-0 Wisconsin run in the first half gave the Badgers a 25-20 advantage though. A 6-0 Carolina run put the Heels right back up and they managed to lead 33-31 at the half.

The game went back and forth for a few minutes to start the second half but UNC’s Joel Berry hit a three, drew a charge and then Paige hooked one in to give Carolina its biggest lead of the game at 51-44 with 12:11 to play.

The Tar Heels held the lead and generally controlled the action until that 9-0 Wisconsin run six minutes later put the Badgers up for good.

Prior to the game, Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky, a national player of the year candidate, dominated the conversation. But it was Sam Dekker who killed the Tar Heels with a career-high 23 points, including 15 in the first half.

The rest of the Wisconsin team woke up in the second half as they shot just 37 percent from the floor in the first half but 58 percent in the second half.

Carolina’s Brice Johnson was the best shooter for the Heels as he hit seven of nine but he was in foul trouble much of the game and, despite scoring 15 points, only played 22 minutes. That really hurt the Tar Heels as Kennedy Meeks, who played just 14 minutes, was slowed by a sprained knee and in foul trouble himself.

UNC’s Justin Jackson hit all three of his three-point attempts and finished with 15 points. Paige, who had just two points in the first half once again, finished with 12.

Paige said Wisconsin was a tough team and tough matchup for the Heels but it will be losses to other teams earlier in the year that the Heels will look back on and regret. While the Tar Heels played better than a No. 4 seed late in the season, those earlier losses cost them as they had to play the No. 1 seed earlier than they’d like.

He added that the Tar Heels were a close-knit group this season and that most of the players will be coming back next season. “Next season we’ll try to execute better and make something special out of it,” he said.

Every person who played for Carolina against Wisconsin will be coming back next season. The Tar Heels finish the season 26-12.

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