For four years, Jack McBride ran the offense, scored goals, and absorbed stick checks as an attackman at Princeton. But this season, he has exchanged his black and orange jersey for the powder-blue uniforms given by North Carolina.
And with the No. 12 Tar Heels scheduled to meet the No. 20 Tigers at the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classicat M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Saturday, McBride will meet his former Princeton teammates as opponents. And he’s not expecting a warm reception.
“To be honest, if anything, I think it’s going to be the opposite,” he said Thursday morning. “I think it’s going to be a pretty heated environment. I know the kids on that team, I know the captains of that team, and I just know the competitive spirits of those guys. They need the win and we need the win. It’s just going to be added emotion and fuel to fire.”
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McBride’s senior year with the Tigers ended after just two games because of a groin injury. McBride graduated later that spring, and by Ivy League rules, he could not return to Princeton. So he elected to join North Carolina.
His former coach, Chris Bates, said everyone on the team understood McBride’s dilemma.
“Jack was a big part of this program and a big personality,” Bates said. “He had that decision to make, and we respected it. It was unique. He couldn’t graduate and come back to Princeton. In terms of how we deal with it, it’s a little bit of a subplot because it should be. He was somebody who was an important part of this program, but at the end of the day, it’s Princeton vs. North Carolina and both teams are looking for a win. So that will take a backseat to what goes on ultimately at 11 a.m. on Saturday.”
McBride has posted five goals and one assist in five contests (three starts) with the Tar Heels. But he acknowledged that he is looking forward to seeing some familiar faces on the field Saturday.
“It’ll be fun. I still have some great friends on the other side, and it’ll be pretty funny considering I used to wear that jersey and I was there for four years and I have a lot of good memories there,” McBride said. “At the same time, I’m really enjoying my time at UNC. When we walk onto the field and I see them warming up for the first time, I’m sure it’ll be a little weird, but when the game starts, we need this game really badly. So to be honest, it’ll just be more motivation to try to get this win and end this losing streak right now.”