Duke, UNC stay near top of lacrosse rankings

DURHAM/CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The third-ranked Duke Blue Devils (9-2, 2-1) and fifth-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels (8-2, 1-2) came out of the weekend with wins on Saturday that kept them in the upper echelon of the men’s lacrosse national rankings.

The Blue Devils’ 17-11 win over Harvard at Koskinen Stadium extended their current win streak to five games while the Tar Heels’ 13-9 road win over then ninth-ranked Johns Hopkins gave them five wins in their last six played.

The Crimson couldn’t contain the Blue Devils offense as midfielder Christian Walsh led the Blue Devils with a career-high five-goal performance to help earn the program’s 500th win.

Seven other Duke players led by Myles Jones (4 goals) and Jordan Wolf (2 goals) rounded out the scoring against the Crimson as Deemer Class, Will Haus, Case Matheis, Chad Cohan, Tanner Scott, and Jack Bruckner all tallied a goal apiece.

Against the Blue Jays, attackman Joey Sankey led the Tar Heels with five goals and two assists while Steve Pontrello had a pair of goals for UNC.

Shane Simpson had a goal and an assist while single goals were also posted by Jimmy Bitter, Ryan Creighton, Chad Tutton, R.G. Keenan and Jake Matthai.

As both teams are poised to continue along their paths to contend for the 2014 NCAA title, they still have work to do against upcoming ranked Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) opponents.

Duke prepares to face No. 8 Notre Dame (4-3, 2-1) and No. 9 Virginia (8-3, 1-2) on the road in successive weeks while North Carolina will host Virginia before heading to New York to face off against No. 7 Syracuse (5-3, 1-3).

While No. 4 Maryland (8-1, 3-1) currently sits atop the conference standings, the second-place Blue Devils and fourth-place Tar Heels will work to move up in preparation for the upcoming ACC Tournament that will be played at PPL Park in Chester, Pa., on April 25 and 27.