CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The second-ranked University of North Carolina men's lacrosse team defeated Manhattan College 21-5 Sunday afternoon at Navy Field as Joey Sankey, Chad Tutton and Shane Simpson all recorded hat tricks for the Tar Heels.
It was the home opener for the Tar Heels (2-0) and was delayed one day after Winter Storm Pax plowed through Chapel Hill last Wednesday. The venue was also switched from Fetzer Field to UNC's Turf Facility at Navy Field. Despite the changes a good crowd of 829 fans was on hand.
Twelve different Tar Heels scored against the Jaspers, who fell to 0-2 on the season. Nine different UNC players had assists. Sankey, who led UNC with five points, recorded a hat trick for the second straight game and now has 10 for his career. He has recorded a point in 23 successive games. Tutton had three goals, extending his goal-scoring streak to 15 games in a row (and 27 of the past 28 games). It was Tutton's ninth career hat trick. Tutton's fellow Canadian Shane Simpson, a freshman midfielder, had the first hat trick of his young career.
Jimmy Bitter saw his first action of the season and had three points on a goal and two assists. The junior attackman has recorded points in 28 successive games and has scored goals in 23 of his past 25 appearances. Several other Tar Heels got in on the action with multiple point games as senior Pat Foster had two goals and an assist while junior midfielder Walker Chafee and freshman midfielder Peyton Klawinski each scored twice. Sophomore Spencer Parks and Steve Pontrello each had a goal and an assist for UNC.
The Tar Heels outshot the Jaspers 66-28 on the day and won the ground ball battle 40-29. Manhattan goalkeeper Rich Akapnitis went the entire 60 minutes, making 17 saves. UNC starter Kieran Burke played the first three quarters and had seven saves. Duncan Saunders and Bradley Dunn split time in the fourth quarter for UNC with each recording a save. Frankie Kelly and sophomore Evan Connell shared the team lead in ground balls with five each for the Tar Heels.
R.G. Keenan missed the game with an injury for UNC but senior Frankie Kelly filled in and had his best career game in the face-off circle, winning 14 of 18 draws. Kelly's previous career high for face-off wins in a game was 12 against Dartmouth on March 21, 2012. Frankie's younger brother, Stephen, a freshman won four face-offs and also scored his first career goal for the Tar Heels. Another freshman who recorded his first career point was Tate Jozokos who assisted on a goal by Peyton Klawinski with 9:09 left in the fourth quarter.
Manhattan was led by Andrew Hurst with a pair of goals. Sean McMahon had a goal and two assists for the Jaspers.
The Tar Heels got off to a quick start with four different players scoring in the opening 7:49 of the match. After the Jaspers cut UNC's lead to 4-1, Carolina scored three unanswered goals before the end of the opening quarter, two of them by Sankey, including one of highlight reel quality.
Manhattan scored two of the first three goals of the second quarter before the Tar Heels ran off the final five goals of the period to lead 13-3 at intermission. Pat Foster had back-to-back tallies, both assisted by Jimmy Bitter, at 5:57 and 3:38, to finish off the scoring in the opening 30 minutes.
Carolina had a six-goal scoring run in the second half to eventually gain its biggest lead at 20-4 with 3:42 to play. Junior Walker Chafee scored back-to-back goals to close out the third quarter and Peyton Klawinski had a pair of goals in the fourth stanza for UNC.
The 21 goals by UNC were the most the Tar Heels have scored in Coach Joe Breschi's six years as head coach. The 21 goals were the most scored by the Tar Heels since April 26, 2001 when they defeated NCAA Division II Pfeiffer 27-7 at Henry Stadium. It's the highest goal total for UNC against an NCAA Division I opponent since April 16, 1997 when it recorded a 22-2 win over VMI in Lexington, Va.
It was also the first time UNC has limited opponents to five or less goals in back-to-back games since it accomplished that feat in the opening four games of the 2010 season (Jacksonville, Bryant, Lehigh, Navy).
Carolina returns to action next Saturday when it plays host to Dartmouth at 2 p.m. at Fetzer Field.