CHAPEL HILL - Fifth-ranked North Carolina jumped out to a quick, early lead and held on for a victory over No. 16 Towson on Friday afternoon at Fetzer Field. Senior Kara Canizzaro led the Tar Heels with four goals, all four in the first 11 minutes of play. With her fourth goal, Cannizzaro reached the 100-goal plateau in her standout career in Chapel Hill.
Carolina jumped out to a 5-1 lead, only to go scoreless for over 19 minutes and allow Towson back into the game. The Tigers got as close as 6-5 in the second half before the Tar Heels replied with three consecutive goals to put the game out of reach late in the contest.
With the win, Carolina improves to 1-1 this season and bounces back from its 5-3 loss to third-ranked Florida last weekend. Towson, playing its season opener, falls to 0-1.
Cannizzaro, who was held scoreless in the loss to Florida, scored her four goals on 11 shots while also collecting three ground balls. Freshman Aly Messinger scored twice, the first two goals of her career. Jessica Griffin, Sammy Jo Tracy and Abbey Friend scored single goals for UNC.
Towson was led by Jackie LaMonica and Sarah Maloof, who each tallied two goals and one assist. Kelly Custer and Olivia Turner both also scored for the Tigers, and Rhiannon Coogle dished out an assist.
Cannizzaro scored UNC's first three goals in less than four minutes coming out of the lockerroom. Messinger scored an unassisted goal at 25:50 for a 4-0 Carolina lead before LaMonica's first goal made it 4-1. Cannizzaro scored her fourth goal at the 19:04 mark for a 5-1 advantage, but the Tar Heels didn't score the rest of the first half while Custer and Maloof scored for the Tigers to make it 5-3 at halftime.
The Tar Heels started off the second half quickly and scored their first goal in over 19 minutes when Griffin scored unassisted at 29:33 to make it 6-3 UNC. Towson responded a minute later with a goal from LaMonica off a good pass from Maloof from behind the cage, making it 6-4. The Tigers pulled within a goal at the 26:33 mark when Turner took a pass from LaMonica and scored to make it 6-5.
Tracy and Messinger, a pair of Tar Heel freshmen, followed with back-to-back unassisted goals to make it 8-5 with 20:10 left. Friend scored an unassisted goal at the 15:00 mark to make it 9-5. Carolina dominated possession for much of the latter stages of the game, icing the victory by keeping the ball away from the Tigers and passing deliberately to set up shots and prevent Towson from cutting into the lead significantly.
Towson did pull within 9-6 with 5:30 left with a goal against UNC backup goalkeeper Megan Ward but could get no closer. Senior Lauren Maksym made the start in the cage for UNC and picked up the victory by playing the entire first half.
Carolina will return to action on Sunday a home game against Richmond at Fetzer Field at 1 p.m.