DURHAM, N.C. – Senior attackman Justin Guterding totaled four goals and three assists to become the 13th player in NCAA history to reach the 300-point barrier as No. 5 Duke defeated visiting North Carolina, 11-10, in ACC men’s lacrosse action on Friday evening at Koskinen Stadium.
Duke improves to 9-2 overall and 1-1 in ACC action while North Carolina falls to 6-5 overall and 0-1 in league play. The Blue Devils are now 16-4 in their last 20 meetings with the Tar Heels.
“I think the first thing that we will take out of this is the grittiness that was needed to win on a day like today,” said head coach John Danowski. “We knew North Carolina was going to come to play and in the first quarter they were all over it when the ball was on the ground. They played zone defense, which is just difficult to crack. We were down by three, down by two in the second half, so I’m really proud of their grittiness today.”
Leading 4-1 early in the second quarter, North Carolina remained in front 9-8 heading into the final frame. The Tar Heels had the 9-7 lead on a 30-second goal from Chris Cloutier with 22 seconds, but a heads-up play by Brad Smith allowed Guterding to find Joe Robertson on the crease as time expired to make it 9-8.
With momentum swinging in the Blue Devils’ direction, Smith knotted the game with an unassisted goal at the 13:27 mark. The Blue Devils took their first lead of the game just under two minutes later on Peter Conley’s marker on a feed from Robertson.
Guterding stretched the lead to two goals at the 9:15 mark before the Tar Heels climbed back within one with 4:36 on the clock with a goal from Andy Matthews. North Carolina held possession late in the fourth quarter, but Duke blocked a shot by Chris Cloutier with 18 seconds remaining and, following a ground ball by Cade Van Raaphorst, the Blue Devils were able to run out the clock.
A native of Garden City, N.Y., Guterding now has 304 career points on 183 goals and 121 assists and is one of three Blue Devils to surpass the 300-point plateau, joining Matt Danowski (353) and Jordan Wolf (304).
“Justin, one, is an incredibly willful player,” said Danowski. “He’s stubborn to a point, but the thing we liked about today is that he didn’t turn the ball over so his game is constantly getting better. He’s constantly critical of himself and always looking to improve.”
Smith chipped in four goals and two assists for the Blue Devils, matching his career-high points with six. The junior midfielder has scored at least four points in four of his last five games and is 10 points shy of the 100-point mark.
For North Carolina, Cloutier carded three goals and one assist while Timmy Kelly added three tallies. Tar Heel goalkeeper Alex Bassil recorded nine saves in the Tar Heel net.
Duke continues league play on Saturday, April 7 at Notre Dame. Faceoff is set for 4 p.m., and the game will be televised live on ESPNU.