1981 NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship

The 1981 Division I NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship game was played at Princeton University in front of 13,943 fans. North Carolina capped off a 12 and 0 season with its first-ever NCAA championship, as they defeated previously unbeaten Johns Hopkins, 14 to 13.

1981 NCAA Division I Men's
Lacrosse Championship
DatesMay 1981
Finals sitePrinceton University
ChampionsNorth Carolina (1st title)
Runner-upJohns Hopkins
MOPJeff Cook, Attack, Johns Hopkins
Attendance[1]13,943 finals
29,387 total
NCAA Division I Men's Championships
«1980 1982»

Tournament overview

North Carolina scored five goals in the fourth quarter to defeat Johns Hopkins in a come-from-behind victory from a late three goal deficit, which snapped a three-year winning streak by Johns Hopkins. Hopkins had finished first or second in eight of the 11 NCAA championships, and had been on a 22-game unbeaten streak. The title was North Carolina’s first in lacrosse.

The Tar Heels were led by coach Willie Scroggs, former Johns Hopkins' top assistant coach. North Carolina had been ranked number two in the USILA poll behind three-time defending national champion Johns Hopkins entering the tournament. Scroggs who played midfield at Hopkins, turned the Tar Heels into national champions after only three seasons as coach.

Annapolis native Michael Burnett was selected USILA first team All-America. The University of North Carolina's leading scorer, Burnett a sophomore, was among the first of a group of high profile Maryland players recruited by Willie Scroggs to North Carolina as the school quickly built its program into a national power. For Hopkins, the prior four-year period included 53 wins against three losses, to go with three national championships. During this stretch, the Blue Jays won a record 11 straight NCAA tournament games, a record later tied by Syracuse. National Player of the Year Jeff Cook scored six goals for Hopkins.[2][3][4]

Tournament results

First Round
May 20
May 23
May 30
1 Johns Hopkins 19
8 Maryland 14
1 Johns Hopkins 10
5 Virginia 6
5 Virginia 16
4 Massachusetts 12
1 Johns Hopkins 13
2 North Carolina 14
2 North Carolina 13
7 Syracuse 6
2 North Carolina 17
6 Navy 8
6 Navy 16
3 Army 10

Tournament boxscores

Tournament Finals - May 30, 1981

North Carolina432514
Johns Hopkins533213
  • North Carolina scoring – Michael Burnett 4, Doug Hall 3, Kevin Griswold 2, Chris Mueller, Monty Hill, Dave Wingate, Pete Voelkel, Jeff Homire
  • Johns Hopkins scoring – Jeff Cook 6, Brendan Schneck 2, Jim Zaffuto, Bill Cantelli, Jeff Kendall, Jeff Harris, Mike Donnelly
  • Shots: Johns Hopkins 48, North Carolina 44

Tournament Semi-Finals - May 23, 1981

Johns Hopkins142310
  • Johns Hopkins scoring – Brendan Schneck 3, Jim Zaffuto 2, Jeff Cook, Jeff Harris, Peter Scott, Henry Ciccarone, Bill Cantelli.
  • Virginia scoring – Bill Seery, Mike Caravana, Rick Giusto, Matt Rainis, Randy Natoli, Lou Ruland.
  • Shots: Johns Hopkins 49, Virginia 35.
North Carolina413917
  • Navy scoring – Syd Abernethy 4, Rich Wehman, Phil Skalniak, Chuck Coughlin, Mike Gubosh.
  • North Carolina scoring – Monty Hill 4, Jeff Homire 3, Michael Burnett 3, Pete Voelkel 2, Andy Smith, Kevin Griswold, Doug Hall, Terry Martinello, Tim Voelkel.
  • Shots: Navy 49, North Carolina 45.

Tournament First Round

Johns Hopkins822719
  • Johns Hopkins scoring – Jim Zaffuto 6, Jeff Harris 3, Joe Ciletti 2, Bill Cantelli 2, Jeff Cook, Peter Scott, Brendan Schneck, Henry Ciccarone, Mike McGee, Howard Offit.
  • Maryland scoring – James Wilkerson 5, Peter Worstell 3, Thomas Lloyd, David Saunders, Timothy Worstell, Ron Martinello, Klay Johnson, Jack Francis.
  • Shots: Johns Hopkins 51, Maryland 48
  • Virginia scoring – Randy Natoli 5, Rick Giusto 4, Ray Giusto, Matt Rainis, Lou Ruland, Tim O’Shea, Bill Seery, David Willis, Pat Finn
  • Massachusetts scoring – Jim Welter 2, Ernie Shapiro 2, Lee Vosburgh 2, Peter Schmitz, Karl Hatton, Chris Corin, Morgan Mohrman, Mike Lavin, Brian Kaley
  • Shots: Virginia 59, Massachusetts 40
North Carolina341513
  • North Carolina scoring – Jeff Homire 3, Kevin Griswold 2, Michael Burnett 2, John Basil, Tom Federico, Monty Hill, Doug Hall, Terry Martinello, Dan Aburn
  • Syracuse scoring – Jim Booth 2, Tom Donahue, Greg Tarbell, Rob Floyd, Ralph Spinola
  • Shots: North Carolina 38, Syracuse 29
  • Navy scoring – Bill Anderson 4, Syd Abernethy 3, Phil Skalniak 2, Rich Wehman 2, Bob Bianchi, Jim Bianchi, David Jones, Mike Gubosh, Bob Sturgell
  • Army scoring – Mark Albe 3, Frank Giordano 3, Paul Cino 2, Ken Dahl, Steve Krikorian
  • Shots: Navy 59, Army 41

Tournament outstanding players

  • Jeff Cook, Attack, Johns Hopkins, tournament Most Outstanding Player
Leading Scorers
Mike Burnett, North Carolina39615
Jeff Cook, Johns Hopkins38412
Syd Abernathy, Navy27310
Brendan Schneck, Johns Hopkins36410
Jim Zaffuto, Johns Hopkins3909
Jeff Homire, North Carolina3718


  1. "NCAA Lacrosse Division I Results / Records" (pdf). NCAA. p. 3 (51). Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  2. Looney, Douglas S. (June 8, 1981). "The Heels Get Their Feet In The Door". sportsillustrated.
  3. Associated Press. First team All-Americas. The Capital. June 4, 1981. pg. 23
  4. Associated Press. Coach Scroggs keeps his promise at UNC. The Capital. June 1, 1981. pg. 17
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