Only UNC Can Wear this Color Blue

Matthias McCall CelebratesNorth Carolina Men’s Lacrosse beats John Hopkins 13-10

Butch Davis, head coach of the UNC football team, may be getting a call shortly from UNC men’s lacrosse head coach John Haus. Typically the men’s lacrosse team plays on Fetzer Field, but it seems that Kenan Stadium holds some mojo for the team. After Saturday’s win, I’m betting the lacrosse team is going to want to play some more games at Kenan where it is thus far undefeated (not for the season, but in entire history of the school).

For the first time since 1994, the UNC Men’s Lacrosse team beat John Hopkins. I fell in love with lacrosse when I first saw the game as a freshman at UNC. It was the first sport I photographed and ever since I have been a fan of and emotionally vested in the men’s team. It’s been tough going for UNC lacrosse fans, but last Saturday was repayment for all the tough times. The win was just [insert your favorite expletive here] amazing.

The game started with a 0-3 John Hopkins scoring run that surely made the Tar Heel faithful think this was going to a thrashing of the Heels. It wasn’t until 12:23 left the second quarter that Nick Tintle threw one between the pipes on an EMO to get the Tar Heels on the scoreboard. The Heels then scored the next two to notch the score at 3. The game then proceeded in bipolar fashion that had fans reaching for the Lithium. The teams traded goals back and forth and tied six more times. The seventh tie was at 12:10 left in the fourth quarter when John Hopkins answered being down 1 with a goal by Jake Byrne. But that Blue Jay tying goal would be their last. North Carolina sent three unanswered balls to the back of the net, including one in the closing seconds by Ben Hunt, to win the game 13-10.

With about 60 seconds left on the clock, I positioned myself behind the team’s bench to get ready for the impending celebration. When the clock hit zero, I ran full speed out to the center of the field with the players to photograph the celebration. It was probably one of the most exuberant celebrations I have photographed in a long time. And as huge fan of the team myself, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face when photographing them. Their energy was just too contagious not to make anyone smile ear-to-ear.

Here is a link to photos of UNC Lacrosse v. John Hopkins.

(p.s. I can’t take credit for the title of the post. It was overheard at the game. The players will understand its significance.)