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Previewing North Carolina’s 2018 Schedule

The Tar Heels had plenty of peaks and valleys as defending national champions. They hope 2018 provides a ton of peaks and few valleys.

COLLEGE LACROSSE: APR 30 ACC Final - Notre Dame v North Carolina Photo by Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The North Carolina Tar Heels are the 59th team in our 2018 schedule preview series and the second team from the ACC. Despite finishing 8-8, the Tar Heels did win the ACC Championship and made the NCAA Tournament, but lost to No. 8 Albany, 15-12, in the first round.

Here’s the entire 2018 schedule:

North Carolina’s 2018 Schedule

Date Road Team Home Team Special Notes Last Year's Meeting(s)
Date Road Team Home Team Special Notes Last Year's Meeting(s)
2/3 Lafayette North Carolina First ever meeting
2/10 Furman North Carolina 7-3 W
2/17 Lehigh North Carolina 15-8 W
2/23 North Carolina Johns Hopkins 13-5 L
2/28 Mercer North Carolina First meeting since 2012 (20-7 W)
3/3 St. John's North Carolina First ever meeting
3/5 Denver North Carolina 13-9 W
3/10 North Carolina Hofstra 11-9 L
3/14 North Carolina Richmond 6-5 L
3/24 North Carolina Maryland Pacific Coast Shootout (in Costa Mesa, California) 15-7 L
3/30 North Carolina Duke ACC 12-8 L
4/7 Virginia North Carolina ACC 15-12 W
4/14 North Carolina Syracuse ACC 12-11 L/OT, 16-15 W
4/21 Notre Dame North Carolina ACC 14-13 L, 14-10 W

The Tar Heels add Lafayette, Mercer, and St. John’s to their nonconference schedule, replacing Dartmouth and UMBC. UNC adds one more game this year.

Let’s check out some notable games on this schedule:

Best Nonconference Game: vs. Denver

Looking at the schedule, I had to make sure a few times that the day was right. A marquee matchup is on a Monday afternoon. They’ll have the entire lacrosse world focused on Chapel Hill, and these meetings have always been entertaining. How will the loss of Stephen Kelly at the face-off X affect UNC’s draw game against Trevor Baptiste? Either Riley Graham or Charles Kelly will need to be up for that task.

Best Conference Game: vs. Notre Dame

The two teams have met twice in each of the past two years, with UNC going 3-1 in that span. Their meetings have had implications for deciding the ACC regular season and ACC Tournament champions. Both teams have some key players lost to graduation, and will count on their incoming freshmen and depth from last year to step up their game, including Brendan Collins and Pierre Byrne in the Fighting Irish midfield.

Under The Radar Game: vs. Lehigh

I mentioned the loss of Stephen Kelly in regards to the Denver game. The Lehigh game could also be a game where Kelly’s departure hurts the team. The Mountain Hawks have a pretty good sophomore FOGO in Conor Gaffney, who went 11-of-23 against the Tar Heels last year. He could cause problems to Graham or Kelly this year.

Possible Upset: @ Hofstra

The Pride have taken the past two meetings in Chapel Hill. It doesn’t help that this year’s meeting is in Hempstead. Hofstra loses Josh Byrne, but does have Ryan Tierney, Brendan Kavanagh, Dylan Alderman on offense, and goalie Jack Concannon to propel them towards a possible CAA championship.

For other schedules and team rosters, check out our Men’s Division I matrix.