Tar Heels savor NCAA title sweep in men's, women's lacrosse
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) The NCAA championship trophy - one North Carolina's men's lacrosse team had waited a quarter-century to win - sat on a table to greet coach Joe Breschi as he walked into the team meeting room Tuesday.
The matching one won by Jenny Levy's Tar Heel women was elsewhere with her players.
''Where's your trophy?'' Breschi asked a chuckling Levy. ''We'll share.''
One holiday weekend, two NCAA titles. UNC is the first school in 22 years and only the second to sweep the men's and women's titles in the same season. Both came in the Philadelphia area against top-seeded Maryland teams, marking a breakthrough win for the men after recent stumbles and a second title in four seasons for the women.
''You have to enjoy it,'' Levy said Tuesday. ''If you're a transactional coach, then you're on to the next thing already. And it's a little heartless: you check the box and move on. But neither of us coach that way. . So you want to enjoy your staff. You want to enjoy your kids.''
That Memorial Day weekend haul put UNC alongside Princeton in 1994 as the only schools to win the twin titles in the same year.
The Tar Heels stayed in the same hotel in Philadelphia, with the men gathering in the lobby to see the women's team off ahead of Sunday's final - they couldn't attend due to prescheduled media interviews - followed by the women watching the men's final Monday with their own trophy in the stands.
When that game was over, the teams gathered near the edge of the field for a celebratory photo.
''It was just seeing them in the (hotel) hallways and it was like, `Let's do this,''' senior attacker/midfielder Patrick Kelly said. ''. Just that mutual understanding and respect for each other, the preparation we had was pretty special.''
The third-seeded UNC women (20-2) beat the unbeaten Terrapins 13-7 to close the year with program records of 17 straight wins and 20 victories. They beat Maryland for the program's first title in 2013.
The UNC men hadn't won the national championship since 1991 nor made the national semifinals since 1993. But after a 3-3 start and flirting with the wrong side of the tournament bubble, UNC beat three seeded teams before upsetting the Terrapins in overtime on Chris Cloutier's sudden-death winner.
The Tar Heels (12-6) hadn't won more than two straight all season before their four-game tournament run.
And perfectly timed, UNC's 1991 title team was on hand to be honored on the 25th anniversary of its victory. Levy's husband was a member of that team, an example of how intertwined the programs are - especially now with a new bit of history.
''Two national championships in one weekend is incredible for the school,'' Kelly said. ''And to be a part of that is just an awesome experience.''
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