PCS Q&A: North Carolina Coach Joe Breschi

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In March, North Carolina head coach Joe Breschi will bring his Tar Heels to Southern California for the Pacific Coast Shootout, the program’s second trip to the event.

Tickets are available for the fifth annual Pacific Coast Shootout, which will feature defending champion Maryland against 2016 champion North Carolina, on Saturday, March 24, at Orange Coast College (7 p.m.).

Fans purchasing tickets can receive a 20 percent discount by entering the promo code MAXLAX in the “Group/Team Promo Code” box during checkout (code is case-sensitive).

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A 1990 Carolina alum, Joe Breschi is entering his 10th season as the Tar Heels’ head coach with an overall record of 96-40, including a national championship in 2016. Last season, North Carolina slipped to 8-8 but won the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament championship and earned an NCAA Tournament bid for the 11th consecutive season. It was the first time in nine seasons that Breschi’s squad didn’t win at least 10 games.

This year, North Carolina enters the season ranked No. 9 in both the Inside Lacrosse preseason media poll and the USLIA preseason coaches’ poll.

The Tar Heels open their season Saturday at home against Lafayette. Coach Breschi took time out from preparations for the season opener to answer a few questions from MaxLax about the trip to California in March.

How does a mid-season, cross-country trip like this benefit your team?

Breschi: “It’s a team bonding trip for the team and visit with our loyal fans that don’t get a chance to see the team play in person. Sure, its a challenge, but for the guys, it’s an experience to visit the West Coast and see another part of the country.”

Is there any concern playing such an important non-conference game so far from home and so late in the season (Game 10 of 14)?

Breschi: “Both teams have challenges with travel and scheduling, but it’s how you overcome those to perform to the best of your ability. It gives our team a chance to compete against a tremendous program and prepare for our ACC schedule ahead of us.”

In what broader ways — exposure, brand-building, recruiting, etc. — does a neutral-site game like this benefit your program?

Breschi: “We recruit all over the country, so this is another opportunity to visit fertile recruiting grounds and play in front of some amazing alumnae who support the Tar Heel Blue and our athletic department. Recruits also like to see that your program travels to play some terrific games outside of the East Coast!”

You have a SoCal kid on your roster and another reportedly signed an LOI this year; what have you seen in the growth of lacrosse in SoCal and the quality of player coming out of this region?

Breschi: “There are some amazing athletes playing lacrosse in SoCal and out West in general. There are some awesome coaches in SoCal who really preach the fundamentals of the game, and you can truly see the growth and development of the student athletes who come from there. The coaches have made the game of lacrosse enjoyable and competitive while developing their lacrosse IQ and preparing them for the College level. We will continue to recruit great athletes and lacrosse players in SoCal for sure!”