Carolina Heads To Rocky Mountain State For NCAA First Round Matchup
2014 UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA MEN'S LACROSSE GAME NOTES
Unseeded North Carolina Tar Heels (10-4, Tied #9 USILA Coaches Poll/#9 Warrior Media Poll) at #5 Seed Denver Pioneers (14-2, ACC 1-3, #2 USILA Coaches Poll/#2 Warrior Media Poll)
Saturday, May 10, 2014
7:30 p.m. EDT, 5:30 p.m. MDT
Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium
Live Stats: GoHeels.com
Live Telecast: ESPNU
Live Simulcast: ESPN3
2014 UNC Lacrosse Media Guide: Access Media Guide Link on Lacrosse Home Page of GoHeels.com
Play by Play: Mark Dixon
Analyst: Jamie Munro
THIS WEEK'S MATCHUP & NCAA TOURNAMENT GAME NOTES
TAR HEELS SET TO MEET DENVER FOR THIRD STRAIGHT YEAR IN NCAA TOURNAMENT: Unseeded North Carolina and fifth-seeded Denver will meet Saturday at 7:30 p.m. EDT/5:30 p.m. MDT in the first round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship.
Denver enters the game with a 14-2 record and the Pioneers earned the automatic bid by winning the Big East Conference championship. The Pioneers have won 11 successive games and have not lost a match since falling at Penn on March 1 by a 12-10 score.
North Carolina is 10-4 on the season. The Tar Heels earned an at-large bid to the tournament. All six ACC schools earned bids to the tournament, including five on an at-large basis.
Both teams are ranked in the Top 10 of both polls heading into the matchup. Denver is #2 in both the USILA coaches poll and in the Inside Lacrosse/Warrior media poll. North Carolina is tied for ninth in the USILA coaches poll and is ninth outright in the Inside Lacrosse/Warrior media poll.
Saturday's game will be played at Peter Barton Stadium on the UD campus in Denver. The game is a sellout.
CAROLINA VERSUS DENVER: Saturday will mark the 12th meeting between North Carolina and Denver. North Carolina leads the all-time series 8-3.
The two teams met in a regular season series nine times between 1999 and 2009, including eight straight years from 2002 through 2009.
Of those first nine games, four were played in Denver and five in Chapel Hill and Carolina won eight of the nine. The Denver win came in 2006 by an 11-8 tally at Barton Stadium.
The two squads have played each other in each of the last two NCAA Tournaments. In 2012, Denver defeated the #8 seed Tar Heels 16-14 at Fetzer Field. In 2013, the squads met in the NCAA quarterfinals with #4 seed Denver defeating #5 seed Carolina 12-11.
LIVE COVERAGE FOR SATURDAY'S GAME VERSUS DENVER: For fans of Carolina lacrosse who cannot be there in person at the Barton Stadium in Denver on Saturday please follow along with live stats with a link available on the home page at GoHeels.com.
The game between the Tar Heels and the Pioneers will also be telecast live on ESPNU with a simulcast on ESPN3. Fans can find links for the live feed of the game on both GoHeels.com and WatchESPN.
Mark Dixon is the play by play announcer for Saturday's game while former Denver head coach Jamie Munro will be the color analyst.
LAST YEAR'S NCAA MEETING: Fourth-seeded Denver outscored fifth-seeded North Carolina 5-1 in the fourth quarter to rally past the Tar Heels 12-11 in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals at Lucas Oil Stadium on May 19, 2013.
UNC saw its 10-game winning streak come to an end as the Tar Heels were unable to protect a six-goal lead, falling to a spirited Denver comeback. The Pioneers improved to 14-4 on the campaign.
Joey Sankey, Davey Emala and Mark McNeill each scored a pair of goals for UNC while Steve Pontrello, Chad Tutton, Evan Connell, Ryan Kilpatrick and Pat Foster each scored goals. Jimmy Bitter, Ryan Creighton, Marcus Holman, greg McBride and Sankey each had assists for UNC.
Wesley Berg led the Pioneers with four goals and an assist. Eric Law had three goals and three assists and he also had the game-winning goal with 13.4 seconds left. Colin Scott scored twice for the Pioneers while Cameron Flint had a trio of assists.
Denver outshot the Tar Heels 37-35 for the game, including 16-5 in the fourth quarter. The Tar Heels had a 24-22 edge in ground balls despite Denver winning 17 of 26 face-offs in the match. Chase Carraro took all 26 draws for the Pioneers, who beat Carolina in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year.
Kieran Burke made 10 saves for the Tar Heels including six in the fourth quarter as the Pioneers staged their furious comeback. Jamie Faus, who played the last 50:23 in the goal for Denver, had 11 saves.
CAROLINA IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: Carolina is appearing in the NCAA Tournament for the 29th time in school history. Only four schools - Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Virginia and Syracuse - have appeared in the NCAA Tournament more often than the Tar Heels.
UNC has an all-time record of 28-24 in NCAA Tournament games but is only 5-13 in its last 18 games since 1993. Three of those five wins have come under current head coach Joe Breschi.
The Tar Heels are in the NCAA Tournament field for the eighth successive year and the sixth time in six years under Coach Breschi.
The only longer streak of successive appearances by Carolina in the NCAA Championship came from 1980-1996 when the Tar Heels were in the field for 17 consecutive years under coaches Willie Scroggs and Dave Klarmann.
UNC AS AN UNSEEDED TEAM IN THE FIELD: This Saturday marks only the third time in NCAA Tournament history that the Tar Heels have entered the field as an unseeded team.
The Tar Heels lost to #8 seed Loyola 17-11 in the first round of the 1995 tournament in Baltimore, Md.
In 1998, Carolina lost to #7 seed Duke in the NCAA first round by a 16-14 score in Amherst, Mass.
FIRST NCAA ROAD GAME SINCE 1995: Saturday's matchup against Denver will mark the first true road game for UNC in the NCAA Tournament since May 13, 1995 when the Tar Heels lost an NCAA first round match at Loyola College in Baltimore by a 17-11 score.
Carolina's all-time road record in NCAA Tournament play is 6-8.
GENERAL GAME NOTES ABOUT THE HEELS
UNC SHOOTERS ABOVE 33 PERCENT: North Carolina is shooting 33.6 percent as a team this year, the seventh best shooting percentage in NCAA Division I.
Carolina has a host of players scoring on more than one-third of their shots at this point of the season. Of those players who have taken 10 or more shots, Walker Chafee's 72.7 percentage leads the way while both Jake Matthai and Ryan Creighton check in at 41.7 percent.
CAROLINA'S MUCH MALIGNED DEFENSE: North Carolina's defense, which has received its fair share of uncomplimentary press on the national stage, has actually been one of Carolina's most improved areas in 2014. That defense will be put to the test against high-scoring Denver Saturday as the Pioneers. Denver ranks fourth in the nation in goals scored per game at 13.44.
To date, UNC has allowed only six of 14 teams to reach double figures in scoring. The Tar Heels are allowing 8.29 goals per game so far in 2014. That's down from 9.94 goals per game in the 2013 season. Carolina's scoring defense currently ranks eighth in the country.
UNC's defense held Maryland to eight goals and Johns Hopkins to nine goals in games on March 22 and March 29. In both instances, UNC held those opponents to their first single digit goal totals of the 2014 season.
SHARING THE LOAD: Carolina has 10 players with double figures in points this season, achieving that total in just 14 games. UNC had nine players with 10 or more points last season but it took it 17 games to accomplish that feat.
Tar Heels with double digits in points are Joey Sankey with 55, Jimmy Bitter with 36, Pat Foster with 35, Chad Tutton with 25, Shane Simpson with 17, Steve Pontrello with 16, Spencer Parks with 14, Michael Tagliaferri with 10, Luke Goldstock with 10 and Patrick Kelly with 10.
SANKEY NAMED A TEWAARATON CANDIDATE: Junior attackman Joey Sankey was named one of 28 nominees for the 2014 Tewaaraton Award presented by Panama Jack on April 25.
Five finalists were named for the award on May 8 and the 2014 award winner will be named on May 29.
Earlier this year, a pair of standout Tar Heel offensive players were named on February 27 to the Tewaaraton Award Watch List presented by Panama Jack. Sankey and junior midfielder Chad Tutton were both named to the 50-man Watch List.
UNC's Marcus Holman was one of five finalists for the award in 2013. He was only the second finalist in UNC history. The other Tar Heel was Jed Prossner.
CREIGHTON A CANDIDATE FOR SENIOR CLASS AWARD: Senior tri-captain Ryan Creighton (West Chester, Pa.) was named one of 20 candidates for the prestigious 2014 Senior CLASS Award. The award annually honors one men's lacrosse player who exemplifies four areas of excellence -- community, classroom, character and competition.
Creighton was seeking to become the fourth Tar Heel student-athlete in history to win a Senior CLASS Award. Tyler Hansbrough won the award for men's basketball in 2009, Ali Hawkins for women's soccer in 2010 and Kealia Ohai for women's soccer in 2013.
Creighton was not on the list of 10 finalists for the awards that was named on April 3.
KUDOS TO MARCUS: The Tar Heel lacrosse program received great news on February 5 when 2013 alumnus Marcus Holman was named as a finalist for selection to the U.S. National Team that will play this coming summer in the 2014 World Lacrosse Games in Denver, Colo. Holman was one of 30 U.S. players named to the roster and one of six attackmen chosen. The U.S. National Team is being coached this year by Furman head mentor Richie Meade, a 1976 University of North Carolina graduate.
THE POLLS: The final two regular season polls were released this past Monday. North Carolina is ranked in a tie for ninth place in the USILA coaches' poll heading into the post season. Carolina is ranked ninth in the Warrior media poll sponsored by Inside Lacrosse.
THIRTEEN DOUBLE DIGIT SCORING GAMES: North Carolina has scored in double digits in 13 of the first 14 games of the 2014 season, including the first six games of the season.
Dating back to last season, Carolina has scored in double digits in goals in 25 of the past 27 games.
Duke is the only opponent to hold Carolina under 10 goals in the past 27 games. In both cases, Duke held Carolina to eight goals. The Blue Devils beat Carolina 11-8 on March 13, 2013 and 9-8 in overtime on March 15, 2014.
OFFENSIVE EXPLOSION VERSUS JASPERS: North Carolina's 21-goal offensive effort versus Manhattan on February 16 marked the largest goal output for UNC in head coach Joe Breschi's six years as head coach. The Tar Heels had scored 20 goals in a game three times previously during his tenure.
The 21 goals were the most for UNC in a game since April 26, 2001 when UNC beat NCAA Division II school Pfeiffer 27-7 at Henry Stadium. The last time Carolina had scored more than 21 goals against an NCAA Division I team was April 16, 1997 in a 22-2 victory at VMI.
UNC has scored as many as 20 goals in a game five times during Coach Breschi's tenure including twice this season (Manhattan and Bucknell).
Bitter has recorded points in 40 successive games dating back to March 16, 2012. That is the seventh longest streak in the nation. During those 40 games, he has recorded 79 goals and 39 assists for 118 points.
Sankey has recorded at least one point in a game in 35 consecutive contests. His scoring streak began on April 20, 2012. Sankey's streak is the ninth longest in NCAA Division I at the present time. During that span, Sankey has recorded 71 goals and added 53 assists for 124 points.
SANKEY'S GOAL SCORING STREAK: Joey Sankey has scored goals in 15 successive games for the Tar Heels dating back to March 19, 2013.
Sankey's goal scoring streak is currently tied for the ninth longest in NCAA Division I.
HEAD COACH JOE BRESCHI: Joe Breschi is now in his sixth season as the head coach at his alma mater. Breschi has led the Tar Heels to double-digit win totals and NCAA Tournament bids in each of his first six seasons in Chapel Hill.
Last year, he earned his 150th career coaching victory when Carolina beat Virginia in the ACC Tournament championship match on April 28, 2013. He was named ACC Coach of the Year in both 2010 and 2013.
Breschi Coaching Facts:
- 69-29 in six seasons at UNC (70.4)
- 161-92 in 17 seasons overall (63.6)
- 8-12 in ACC regular-season games
- 4-4 in ACC Tournament games
- 3-5 in NCAA Tournament games at UNC; 4-8 in NCAA Tournament games overall
- 15-13 in one-goal games at UNC
- 36-26 versus ranked teams at UNC; 33-3 versus unranked teams at UNC
- 56-9 versus non-conference teams at UNC
- 42-8 in home games at UNC
HIGHEST SCORING AVERAGE IN 17 YEARS: North Carolina averaged 13.35 goals per game last season. That was the highest scoring average for the Tar Heels since the 1996 team scored 15.29 goals per game. UNC scored 227 goals in 17 games last season.
Carolina is slightly ahead of last year's scoring pace heading into the NCAA Tournament. The Tar Heels are averaging 13.57 goals per game to date during the 2014 season.
ANOTHER DOUBLE DIGIT WIN SEASON UNDER COACH BRESCHI: Despite playing against one of the nation's toughest schedules in 2014, the Tar Heels reached a double digit win total for the sixth successive year under the tutelage of head coach Joe Breschi, who was hired in June 2008. The Tar Heels are 10-4 so far in the 2014 campaign
Breschi is the first head coach in UNC history to post double digit win totals in each of his first six years mentoring the Tar Heels. Other than Breschi, Dave Klarmann (1991-94) is the only other coach to win 10 or more games in each of his first four seasons.
Under Breschi's leadership, UNC went 12-6 in 2009, 13-3 in 2010, 10-6 in 2011, 11-6 in 2012, 13-4 in 2013 and 10-4 so far in 2014.
The last time Carolina patched together six successive seasons with 10 or more wins was 1989-94 when the Tar Heels had at least double digits in wins for each of those six seasons.
Contrast the current run of success with the fact over a 12-year span from 1997-2008, Carolina got to the 10-win plateau only twice, going 10-5 in 2004 and 10-6 in 2007.
UNC VERSUS RANKED OPPONENTS UNDER COACH BRESCHI: North Carolina has played nationally-ranked opponents 62 times in Joe Breschi's six-year coaching tenure. UNC is 36-26 in those games, a winning percentage of 58.1 percent. Conversely, the Tar Heels are 33-3 against unranked opponents in his six seasons.
Breschi is 69-29 overall at Carolina in his six seasons as head coach. During Breschi's tenure, UNC's only losses to unranked teams came to Ohio State in 2011 and to Lehigh and Pennsylvania in 2012.
CAROLINA'S IMPROVEMENT IN ONE-GOAL DECISIONS: Prior to Joe Breschi taking over as head coach in 2009, UNC went 1-7 in games decided by one goal from midway through the 2004 season through the end of the 2008 campaign.
Carolina has improved tremendously in one-goal games since Breschi arrived for the 2009 season. UNC is 15-13 in games decided by one goal over the past six years.
THREE TAR HEELS CHOSEN IN 2014 MLL DRAFT: Three seniors on the 2014 University of North Carolina men's lacrosse team were selected January 14 in the Major League Lacrosse collegiate draft. The draft was held at the Philadelphia Convention Center in conjunction with the annual convention of U.S. Lacrosse.
Senior short defensive midfielder Ryan Creighton (West Chester, Pa.) was taken in the second round of the MLL Draft. He was the 12th pick overall in the draft and was taken by MLL's newest team, the Florida Launch. Creighton has been named an honorable mention All-America each of the past two years and is a tri-captain of the 2014 team.
Two more Tar Heel seniors were taken in the seventh round with the first and second picks of that round. Senior face-off man/midfielder R.G. Keenan (Perry Hall, Md.) was chosen with the 49th pick overall by the Ohio Machine, where 2013 UNC alumnus Marcus Holman currently plays.
Senior short stick defensive midfielder Mark McNeill (West River, Md.) was also chosen in the draft's seventh round. He was the 50th overall player taken in the draft and his rights were garnered by his home state team, defending MLL champions, Chesapeake Bayhawks. McNeill had a breakthrough year for the Tar Heels last year, playing especially well late in the season in leading UNC to the ACC title and a berth in the NCAA quarterfinals.
FOUR TAR HEELS EARN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP RINGS: Four current Tar Heel players won gold medal rings at the U19 World Championships in Finland in July 2012. Sophomore midfielders Brent Armstrong and Steve Pontrello, redshirt freshman midfielder Michael Tagliaferri and freshman midfielder Stephen Kelly all played for the U.S. side. Carolina junior midfielder Chad Tutton was a member of Team Canada, which captured the silver medal.
CAROLINA'S STELLAR MARK IN NON-CONFERENCE GAMES: UNC's record in non-conference games continues to be one of the best in the nation over the past nine seasons. The Tar Heels have won 77 of their past 89 games against non-conference teams dating back to April 15, 2006.
In Joe Breschi's six seasons as head coach, the Tar Heels are 56-9 against non-conference teams. The only losses were to Notre Dame in 2009, to Ohio State and Johns Hopkins in 2011, to Lehigh, Pennsylvania and Denver in 2012 and to Massachusetts, Notre Dame and Denver in 2013.
CAROLINA'S DOUBLE DIGIT SCORING GAMES: In Coach Joe Breschi's six years as head lacrosse coach at UNC, Carolina's success has clearly been tied to hitting the 10-goal plateau in a game. In fact UNC's 13-11 loss to Virginia on April 26, 2014, marked only the 12th time in Breschi's coaching tenure that the Tar Heels have lost when they have reached the 10-goal plateau.
UNC has scored at least 10 goals in a game in 74 of 98 games under Coach Breschi's direction dating back to the opening game of the 2009 season. Carolina is 62-12 in those 74 games.
In the 24 games under Coach Breschi's tutelage in which the Tar Heels have not reached the 10-goal mark, UNC has not fared nearly as well as when it scores in double figures. In fact, the Tar Heels' record in those 24 games is just 7-17.
In the 2014 season, UNC has scored in double digit in goals in 13 of 14 games, missing only in a 9-8 overtime loss against Duke on March 15, 2014.
NEAR DOMINANCE AT HOME UNDER BRESCHI: UNC is 42-8 in home games in Coach Joe Breschi's six years at the helm of the Tar Heels. That's a winning percentage of 84.0 percent.
UNC's only home losses during Breschi's four-year tenure include regular-season and ACC Tournament games to Duke in 2009, a regular-season loss to Duke in 2011, an NCAA Tournament loss to Maryland in 2011, regular-season losses to Lehigh and Virginia in 2012, an NCAA Tournament loss to Denver in 2012, a regular-season loss to Duke in 2013 and a regular-season loss to Notre Dame in 2014.
CAROLINA IN HOME GAMES: North Carolina finished the 2014 regular season with an all-time record of 267-120-2 in home games. That included a 6-1 home record in 2014.
UNC has a 68.9 winning percentage all-time in history in home games.
THE ALL-TIME RECORD: North Carolina has an all-time record of 454-277-2 in the sport of men's lacrosse. That is a winning percentage of .621.
FOUR TAR HEELS NAMED TO ALL-ACC TEAM: Four members of the University of North Carolina men's lacrosse team were named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference Team on April 23 as announced by the league office in Greensboro.
Junior attackman Jimmy Bitter, junior midfielder Chad Tutton, junior attackman Joey Sankey and senior short-stick defensive midfielder Ryan Creighton were named to the team from Coach Joe Breschi's Tar Heel team.
Sankey was named to the All-ACC Team for the second straight year while Bitter, Creighton and Tutton were all first-time honorees. The four honorees were the most for the Tar Heels on the All-ACC Team since the 1993 team had seven selections.
Sankey and Tutton have both started 14 games this year while Bitter has started 13, missing one game with an injury.
Creighton is Carolina's tri-captain and one of the squad's top defensive midfield presences.
Sankey leads the Tar Heels in goals with 31, assists with 24 and points with 55. He has scored on 35.6 percent of his shots this year and ranks first among attackman with 31 ground balls.
Bitter is UNC's second leading scorer with 36 points on 29 goals and seven assists. He has scored on 38.2 percent of his shots and ranks second among UNC attackmen with 30 ground balls.
Tutton is Carolina's most proficient goal scorer in the midfield with 22 tallies. He also has three assists and ranks fourth on the team in points with 25. He has three game-winning goals, three man-up goals and 16 ground balls.
Creighton is a key leader in a defensive unit allowing only 8.36 goals per game. He has five goals and an assist this year. In addition to his 12 ground balls, he leads the team this season with 13 caused turnovers despite missing two early-season games due to injury.
THREE TAR HEELS NAMED PRESEASON ALL-ACC: The ACC coaches tapped three Tar Heels as 2014 preseason All-ACC choices. The trio included attackmen Joey Sankey, midfielder Chad Tutton and short-stick defensive midfielder Ryan Creighton.
FACE-OFF YEARBOOK PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAS: Six Tar Heel players notched spots on the Face-Off Yearbook preseason All-America Team for 2014.
Chad Tutton was named first team in the midfield, Joey Sankey second team on attack, Ryan Creighton third team in the short stick defensive midfield, Jimmy Bitter honorable mention on attack, Kieran Burke honorable mention in the goal and Evan Connell honorable mention on defense.
WINS OVER NUMBER ONE: Carolina's 11-8 victory over Maryland on March 22 at Kenan Stadium marked the third straight year in which Carolina has beaten a team ranked #1 in the nation. From 1997 through 2011, Carolina had failed to win any games against No. 1-ranked squads.
North Carolina's 10-8 win at top-ranked Maryland March 23, 2013 resulted in a piece of history for the Tar Heel historical archives. It marked the first time in school history that Carolina had beaten teams ranked #1 in the nation in back-to-back seasons.
Prior to defeating the Terrapins, the Tar Heels' last win against a No. 1 team came on April 1, 2012 when Carolina defeated top-ranked Johns Hopkins 13-9 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., in the Big City Classic.
That win over Johns Hopkins had been an accomplishment in itself as prior to that win over the Blue Jays, Carolina had gone 16 years without beating a #1 team. On that occasion, Carolina outlasted top-ranked Virginia 19-18onApril6, 1996 at Fetzer Field.
ANOTHER SEASON OPENING WIN: Carolina's victory over Furman on February 9 was the 16th in a row for the Tar Heels in a season opener. UNC has won every season opener since the 1999 season. Carolina's last loss in a season opener came on February 22, 1988 when the Tar Heels fell to Butler 13-12 at Fetzer Field.
CAROLINA PLAYER BULLET POINTS
Brent Armstrong, Sophomore Midfielder, Falls Church, Va.
- Has run on the second midfield unit the second half of the season.
- Scored a career-high two goals versus Furman in the season opener.
- Won a career-high six face-offs in the 11-8 win over #1 Maryland on March 22.
Jake Bailey, Junior Defenseman, Fairport, N.Y.
- In second year as a starter on the close defense unit for the Tar Heels.
- Has started all 14 games for the Tar Heels this season
- Has 27 ground balls.
- Scored game-clinching goal in win over #1 Maryland on March 22.
- Had a career high five ground balls against Duke on March 15 and Virginia on April 26.
- Caused a career high five turnovers in UNC's win over Fairfield on February 23, 2013.
Jimmy Bitter, Junior Attackman, Stowe, Vt.
- Named to 2014 All-ACC Team.
- Honorable mention Face-off Yearbook preseason All-America.
- Played in 13 games this season, missing season opener against Furman with an injury.
- UNC's second leading point producer with 36 and second leading goal scorer with 29.
- Has six hat tricks this season, including in each of the last three games.
- Had a season-high four goals at Syracuse.
- Has recorded double digits in points in 10 of 13 games this year.
- Has 14 career hat tricks, matching Joey Sankey for the most on the squad. His 2014 hat tricks came in games against Dartmouth, Notre Dame, Duke, Syracuse, High Point and Virginia.
- Scored at least one goal in 35 of the past 37 games dating back to his freshman season.
- Currently on a 13-game goal scoring streak heading into the match against Denver.
- Has recorded at least one point in 40 straight games. That is the seventh longest streak in the nation and dates back to March 16, 2012. He has 79 goals and 39 assists for 118 points in that scoring streak.
- Scooped up a career high six ground balls in win at High Point.
- Has 88 career goals, the 20th highest total in Tar Heel history.
- Ranks 23rd in Carolina history in points with 129.
- His 59 goals through his sophomore season were the most career goals by a sophomore in UNC history.
- Had three game-winning goals last season, tied for the most by any UNC player in 2013.
- Had a career-high five-goal game against Air Force in the opening contest of his sophomore year.
- Tied his career high of three assists in a game on four occasions in 2013.
- Ranks 40th in the NCAA in career points per game at 2.74.
- Stands 41st in NCAA in career points with 129.
- 34th in NCAA career goals per game at 1.87.
- Ranks 31st in career goals amongst active NCAA players with 88.
- Stands 49th in the NCAA in career assists per game at 0.87.
Kieran Burke, Sophomore Goalkeeper, Fort Salonga, N.Y.
- Has started 31 successive games for the Tar Heels over the past two years.
- In 2013, he was UNC's first freshman starter in goal since Paul Spellman in 2002.
- Currently ranked ninth in the nation in goals against average at 8.43.
- Carries a 0.559 save percentage into the Denver game. That ranks him 12th in NCAA Division I so far this season.
- Has 142 saves this season.
- Has been at 50 percent or above in save percentage in 11 of 14 games this season.
- Has 12 saves and allowed only four goals in win over Bucknell.
- Was excellent at Duke, making 15 saves and allowing the defending national champions only nine goals.
- Against top-ranked Maryland on March 22, he made 12 saves and allowed only eight goals.
- Saved better than 50 percent of the shots against him in wins over Johns Hopkins and Virginia.
- Had 14 saves in game at the Carrier Dome.
- Made 13 saves and allowed just eight goals in win at High Point.
- Had a season-high five ground balls in win over Virginia on April 5.
- Had 22 saves and nine goals allowed in opening three games of the season.
- Honorable mention Face-off Yearbook preseason All-America.
- Had 199 saves as a freshman. That was the seventh most in a season in school history.
- Named ACC Defensive Player of the Week three times as a freshman.
- Had a career high 23 saves in a game against Virginia on April 6, 2013. That was the most saves in a game by a Tar Heel goalkeeper since Paul Spellman had 25 saves versus Maryland on March 22, 2003.
- His best single-game save percentage is .767 against Virginia on April 6, 2013 (23 saves, 7 goals allowed).
- Had a career high seven ground balls in a game against Air Force in the opening game of his career.
- Amongst active NCAA goalkeepers he is 11th in career saves per game (11.00) and 17th in career saves (341)
Walker Chafee, Junior Midfielder, Little Compton, R.I.
- Leads the team in extra-man goals with five
- Has scored eight goals this season on just 11 shots (.727).
- Scored a career high two goals in win over Harvard on March 18. Both were in extra-man situations and came just 30 seconds apart in the third quarter. Also had two goals this year against both Manhattan and Dartmouth.
- Needs two points to become the 11th Tar Heel this year with 10 or more points.
Evan Connell, Sophomore Defenseman, Lutherville, Md.
- Honorable mention Face-off Yearbook preseason All-America.
- Scooped up a career high five ground balls in win over Manhattan.
- Started 14 games at close defense as a freshman in 2013.
- Was switched to long-stick midfield this year and was in the midst of a top notch season before suffering a lower body injury against Duke on March 15.
- He missed five games before returning to the lineup against High Point.
- Has played in nine games, scooping up 19 ground balls and causing five turnovers.
- His 15 caused turnovers as a freshman in 2013 was the most for a Tar Heel freshman since Charlie McComas had 16 in 2009.
Ryan Creighton, Senior Midfielder, West Chester, Pa.
- Tri-captain of the 2014 Tar Heels.
- Named to 2014 All-ACC Team.
- One of the top short-stick midfielders in the college game.
- Has played in 12 games this year, scoring five goals and scooping up 12 ground balls.
- Leads the Tar Heel team in caused turnovers with 13.
- One of 20 candidates nationwide for the 2014 Senior CLASS Award.
- Won UNC's Mildred McCaskill Award as the men's senior student-athlete who exemplifies academic accomplishment, scholarship excellence and service to the community
- Was named the co-captain of the 2013-14 UNC Ultimate Team (top 10 student-athletes at the University)
- 2nd round draft pick of the MLL's Florida Launch.
- Third-team Face-off Yearbook preseason All-America.
- Had 11 goals in 2013, the most ever in a season by a UNC player exclusively playing short stick defensive midfield.
- Led the 2013 team in shooting percentage at .611.
- His 11 goals last season were the most by a UNC midfielder who did not start a game since Mac Hammer had 12 tallies in 2000.
- Had a career-high four ground balls versus UMass in his junior year.
- Scored a career-high three goals in the opening game of his junior year against Air Force.
Pat Foster, Senior Attackman, Lutherville, Md.
- Moved into starting lineup in the attack against Bucknell on March 11 after starting the year in the midfield.
- Carolina's third-leading scorer with 35 points on 18 goals and 17 assists. Also has 22 ground balls.
- His 35 points are just two shy he had in his first three years combined as a Tar Heel. Has 17 assists this year after notching 12 helpers from 2011-13.
- 18 goals in 2014 are three more than the 15 he had in his freshman year, his previous season high.
- Has scored on 35.3 percent of his shots this year.
- Has recorded points in 12 of 14 games this season.
- Has two or more points in 10 games this season.
- Had a hat trick in Carolina's 13-11 win at Princeton on March 7. That was his first hat trick since April 17, 2011 against Lehigh.
- Notched two goals and added three assists in a 20-4 win over Bucknell on March 11. The three assists matched his then career high set initially against Penn State on February 11, 2012. His five points against the Bison eclipsed his previous career high of four against Maryland on March 26, 2011.
- Against #1 Maryland on March 22, he had two goals and two assists as well as a career-high four ground balls.
- Had a career-high four assists in the regular season win over Virginia, including one on Steve Pontrello's game-tying goal with 2:33 to play in the game.
- Matched his career high for points in a game with five against Virginia in the ACC Showcase game (2 goals, 3 assists).
- Boasts three career hat tricks, the third most on the squad.
Luke Goldstock, Freshman Attackman, Niskayuna, N.Y.
- Top reserve in the attack unit who has also played some midfield this year.
- Has seven goals and three assists this year.
- Has played primarily on extra-man.
- One of 10 Tar Heels with 10 or more points this year.
- Ranks second on the team in extra-man goals with four.
- Had first hat trick of his career in victory over Bucknell on March 11. Also had an assist versus the Bison for a caree-high four-point game. Two of his three goals in the game came on the extra-man unit.
R.G. Keenan, Senior Midfielder, Perry Hall, Md.
- Has missed six games this year after suffering a lower body injury in the season opener at Furman.
- Had opened his senior season with an 11-for-17 performance against the Paladins.
- Rallied UNC past Johns Hopkins on March 29, winning 4-of-5 face-offs in the third quarter as the Tar Heels outscored the Blue Jays 8-2 in the second half. Scored the eventual game-winning goal against the Blue Jays late in the third quarter.
- Against Virginia on April 5, he won 4-of-5 face-offs in the fourth quarter. His goal with 2:28 was the eventual game-winner in the 11-10 win over the Cavaliers.
- Amongst active NCAA players he ranks 11th in ground balls per game (6.02), seventh in ground balls (349), 23rd in face-off winning percentage (.556), eighth in face-off wins (644) and fifth in face-off attempts (1,158)
- Had the game-winning goal in back-to-back games against Johns Hopkins and Virginia on March 29 and April 5.
- Ranks second all-time in face-off wins in Carolina history with 644, trailing only Shane Walterhoefer who had 723 from 2006-09.
- Has 349 ground balls in his career, trailing only Jude Collins (412) and Shane Walterhoefer (386) on Carolina's all-time list.
- Has won at least 15 face-offs in a game on 16 occasions in his career
- Won a career high 20 face-offs versus Princeton on March 9, 2013. Also has won 19 face-offs in a game twice and 18 on six other occasions.
- Had 111 ground balls in 2013, the sixth most in a season in school history. Also topped the 100 ground ball plateau with 109 in 2011 and 102 in 2012.
- Has three of the top six face-off win seasons in UNC history - 205 in 2012 (fourth), 198 in 2013 (fifth) and 191 in 2011 (sixth).
- Was named All-ACC Tournament two years in a row (2012 & 2013).
- Scored a career high two goals against Virginia in 2013 ACC Championship Tournament final.
- Chosen in the seventh round of the 2014 MLL Draft by the Ohio Machine.
Frankie Kelly, Senior Midfielder, Lutherville, Md.
- Won the team's Athletic Director Scholar-Athlete Award for the 2013-14 school year.
- One of the winners of the UNC Senior Year Top 10 Scholar-Athlete accolades.
- Won a career-high 14 face-offs in Carolina's victory over Manhattan. Won 14 of 18 face-offs against the Jaspers, a winning percentage of .778.
- Also won 11 of 18 face-offs against Dartmouth. The 11 wins were the third most in a game in Kelly's career.
- Overall, he has won 40 of 81 face-offs this season.
- Has 16 ground balls including five against both Manhattan and Dartmouth.
Patrick Kelly, Sophomore Midfielder, Timonium, Md.
- Runs in Carolina's second midfield unit.
- Has five goals and five assists this season.
- Notched the first hat trick of his career in Carolina's victory over Bucknell on March 11. Had a four-point game versus the Bison, matching his career high for points in a match.
- Had a career-high four points in UNC's season-opener against Furman.
- His three assists againt the Paladins were a career high.
Stephen Kelly, Freshman Midfielder, Lutherville, Md.
- Standout face-off man and midfielder who has been out of the lineup the past six games.
- Broke his right wrist against Harvard on March 18 and had successful surgery six days later.
- Had a career high 15 face-off wins against Princeton on March 7, 2014. Won 15 of 26 face-offs against the Tigers and had a career-high 13 ground balls in the game.
- His 15 face-off wins versus Princeton were the most in a game by a Tar Heel since R.G. Keenan won 15 versus Lehigh on May 11, 2013. It was the 58th time in UNC history a player had won 15 or more face-offs in a game.
- His 13 ground balls against Princeton were the most by a Tar Heel in a game since Shane Walterhoefer had 15 against Providence on March 11, 2009. It was only the eighth time in UNC history a player has had as many as 13 ground balls in a game.
- Won 14 of 18 face-offs against Bucknell on March 11 to go along with 10 ground balls.
- His back-to-back double digit ground ball games were the first by a Tar Heel since R.G. Keenan had 10 versus UMass on February 16, 2013 and 10 versus Fairfield on February 23, 2013.
- Went head-to-head against Duke first-team All-America Brendan Fowler on March 15, winning 13 of 20 face-offs in the game.
- Against Harvard, the game he broke his wrist in, he won 13 of 25 face-offs and had eight ground balls.
- Leads Carolina in ground balls with 47.
- Tar Heel leader in face-off victories with 74 and in face-off percentage at .612. Attempted 121 face-offs before being hurt against the Crimson.
- Scored a highlight reel back-handed goal in Carolina's 13-11 victory at Princeton on March 7.
- Against Dartmouth he won 7 of 8 face-offs and had seven ground balls.
T.J. Kemp, Senior Midfielder, Chattanooga, Tenn.
- Has spent time with both the second and third midfield units this year.
- Had a career-high two goals in the Tar Heels' season opener at Furman.
Ryan Kilpatrick, Junior Defenseman, West Chester, Pa.
- Standout Carolina long-stick defensive midfielder.
- Has played in all 14 games this season. Has 21 ground balls this year including a season high four versus Dartmouth.
- Also in double digits in caused turnovers with 10.
- Had a career-high four caused turnovers in UNC's win at Johns Hopkins.
- Had a goal and three assists as a sophomore, including his first career assist.
- Scored against Denver in 2013 NCAA quarterfinals.
- Almost doubled his ground ball total from his freshman to sophomore years. He had 36 ground balls as a sophomore after having 21 as a freshman.
Jake Matthai, Sophomore Midfielder, Baltimore, Md.
- Talented short stick defensive midfielder for the Tar Heels.
- Has scored five goals this season on just 12 shots.
- Has 14 ground balls this year, including a season high three versus Harvard.
- Scooped up a career high four ground balls in win over High Point in his freshman year.
Greg McBride, Senior Midfielder, Baltimore, Md.
- 2014 team tri-captain.
- Four-year stalwart in Carolina's short-stick defensive midfield unit.
- Had career-high two assists in game at Duke.
- Missed three games with a lower body injury. Has played in 11 games overall, recording three assists while scooping up eight ground balls.
- Had eight assists in 2013 after having five helpers in his first two years combined.
- Had 10 points as a junior, three more than his seven points from 2012.
- Totaled seven caused turnovers as a junior after having seven caused turnovers combined in his first two years.
Mark McNeill, Senior Midfielder, West River, Md.
- A four-year stalwart in Carolina's short-stick defensive midfield unit.
- Also plays wide receiver on the Tar Heel football team.
- A key player in UNC's clearing game.
- Has played in all 14 games this season.
- Has 29 ground balls in his senior year. Has had two or more ground balls in nine games.
- Has scored goals this year against Bucknell and Harvard.
- Had career high for ground balls in a game with four against Dartmouth and Virginia (regular season).
- Caused a career high two turnovers versus Maryland on March 22.
- Drafted in the seventh round of the MLL Draft by the Chesapeake Bayhawks.
- Scored two goals in last year's NCAA quarterfinal game versus Denver.
- His 20 ground balls in 2013 were more than double his nine ground balls from the previous year.
Austin Pifani, Freshman Defenseman, Roslyn, Pa.
- Outstanding close defenseman who has started all 14 games for the Heels this year.
- Has scooped up 29 ground balls, tied for first among close defensemen.
- Has 10 caused turnovers, including three versus Dartmouth. Tallied first goal of his career versus the Big Green.
- Named ACC Defensive Player of the Week on March 25 after leading strong defensive effort in an 11-8 win over #1 Maryland and a victory over Harvard earlier in the week.
- Had a career high five ground balls against Harvard. Held Harvard attackman Ian Ardrey to no goals and no assists and a season-low one shot in UNC's 13-10 win.
- Helped lead the Tar Heels' defense against then #1 Maryland, limiting the Terps to what was then a season-low 8 goals for them and handing them their first loss of the season. Guarded standout Maryland attackman Matt Rambo and held him to 0-for-7 shooting.
- Has had five ground balls in a game this year against both Duke and Harvard.
- Had a season-best three caused turnovers in win over Dartmouth.
Steve Pontrello, Sophomore Midfielder, Marlton, N.J.
- Starts on Carolina's first midfield unit.
- Two-year starter for the Tar Heels.
- Has 13 goals this season to go along with three assists and 13 ground balls.
- Recorded the first hat trick of his career in Carolina's 13-10 win over Harvard on March 18.
- Scored two goals each in back-to-back wins over Johns Hopkins and Virginia.
- Tallied the game-tying goal with 2:33 to play in 11-10 come-from-behind win over Virginia.
- Had hree multi-goal games as a freshman with two goals each against Notre Dame, Virginia and Lehigh
- Posted a career high three ground balls against Air Force in opening game of his career.
- Tallied three game-winning goals as a freshman, tied for the most by any Tar Heel last year.
Zach Powers, Sophomore Defenseman, Columbus, Ohio
• Leader in Carolina's long-stick defensive midfield unit.
- Has played in all 14 games for the Tar Heels this season.
- Has 10 ground balls and seven caused turnovers.
- Had a career-high five ground balls in victory over #1 Maryland on March 22.
- Caused a career high three turnovers in win over Dartmouth.
Joey Sankey, Junior Attackman, Warminster, Pa.
- Heads into the Denver game with a 15-game goal scoring streak. That streak started on May 19, 2013 against UD in the NCAA quarterfinals. Has 33 goals during that span which matches the ninth longest current goal scoring streak in the nation.
- Leads Carolina in goals with 31, assists with 24 and points with 55.
- Incredibly consistent scorer who has recorded three or more points in 11 of the 14 games this year.
- Has 10 games with two or more assists this season including a season-high four versus Darmouth.
- Has 31 ground balls this season to lead UNC attackmen. Had seven against Bucknell and six against Dartmouth.
- For his career he ranks 19th in UNC history with 89 goals, 11th in UNC history with 66 assists and 16th in UNC history with 155 points.
- Has scored at least one goal in 32 of the past 35 games dating back to his freshman season.
- Opened the season with successive hat tricks against Furman, Manhattan and Dartmouth. Also had three-goal games against Bucknell and Virginia and a five-goal game versus Johns Hopkins.
- Scored a career high five goals in Carolina's victory at Johns Hopkins. His seven points versus the Blue Jays equaled his career high total. He also had seven points twice versus Dartmouth (3-18-2013 and 2-22-2014).
- Had four assists versus Dartmouth on February 22, equaling his career high originally set against Princeton in his sophomore year.
- Currently ranks 14th in NCAA Division I stats in points per game this season at 3.93.
- Was one of 28 nominees for the 2014 Tewaaraton Award.
- Second-team Face-off Yearbook preseason All-America.
- Has 14 career hat tricks, matching Jimmy Bitter for the most on the team.
- Was named ACC co-offensive player of the week on April 1 after scoring a career-high five goals and totaling seven points overall in a 13-9 come-from-behind win at Johns Hopkins on March 29.
- Has 35 consecutive games with a point, the eighth-longest streak in NCAA Division I. That streak started on April 20, 2012 and during that time he has scored 71 goals and recorded 53 assists for 124 points.
- Named All-ACC in each of the past two seasons.
- Had 58 career goals through two seasons, the second most by a sophomore in UNC history.
- Named ACC Offensive Player of the Week twice in his sophomore year.
- As a sophomore he had what was then a career-high four goals in a game in three consecutive games versus Dartmouth, Maryland and Brown.
- Posted a career high four assists against Princeton on March 9, 2013.
- Notched a career high seven points against Dartmouth on March 18, 2013.
- Ranks in six categories in NCAA career statistics on the offensive end of the field
- Ranks 14th in points per game (3.23), 15th in career points (155), 35th in goals per game (1.85), 28th in career goals (89), 24th in assists per game (1.38) and 17th in NCAA career assists (66)
Shane Simpson, Freshman Midfielder, Hamilton, Ontario
- Runs on Carolina's first midfield unit as a freshman.
- Has started the last 12 games for the Tar Heels.
- Has 11 goals and six assists this season for 17 points.
- Heads into the Denver game having recorded points in six straight games.
- Had the first hat trick of his career in Carolina's win over Manhattan.
- Had two assists in game at Syracuse.
- Against Maryland he matched his career high for points with three (two goals, one assist).
Jordan Smith, Senior Defenseman, Winston-Salem, N.C.
* Four-year starter in the close defense for the Tar Heels.
- Carolina's most improved player in 2013.
- Starter on close defense in all 13 games this year.
- Has 14 ground balls this year and eight caused turnovers.
- Has season high three ground balls versus Notre Dame.
- Matched his career high for caused turnovers in a game with three versus Harvard.
- Has started 27 successive games on close defense, including the last 13 contests of 2013 and all 14 this season.
- Had 13 caused turnovers as a junior after having 12 caused turnovers in his first two seasons combined.
Michael Tagliaferri, Freshman Midfielder, Danville, Calif.
- Has had an injury prone sophomore year, seeing action in only nine games.
- Has played in only one game since getting hurt against Harvard on March 18.
- Split time between first and second midfield units before being injured.
- Recorded the first hat trick of his career in Carolina's game at Duke on March 15.
- Had a pair of assists in win over Bucknell as well as a goal for a career-high three points.
- Tallied a pair of goals versus Dartmouth.
Chad Tutton, Junior Midfielder, Courtice, Ontario
- Named to 2014 All-ACC Team.
- Three-year starter in Carolina's first midfield unit.
- Started all 14 games this year and has 22 goals (tops among UNC midfielders) and three assists for 25 points.
- Has scored multiple goals in six games. Has four hat tricks this season.
- Had season high for points with four against Princeton (3 goals, 1 assist) and High Point (4 goals).
- Ranks 31st in Carolina history in goals scored with 70 and he is 47th in career points with 86.
- Tutton has two of the 15 longest goal scoring streaks in UNC history (a 19-game streak and a 12-game streak).
- Has scored at least one goal in 36 of the past 40 games dating back to his freshman year.
- Recorded at least one point in 38 of the past 41 games.
- Had a 19-game goal scoring streak stopped on March 15 against Duke. That streak had begun against Princeton on March 9, 2013. That streak was the seventh longest goal-scoring streak in Tar Heel history.
- Also had a 12-game goal scoring streak that ran from March 21, 2012 through February 23, 2012. That streak was the 14th longest by a Carolina player in history.
- Has 12 career hat tricks, the third most on the team behind Jimmy Bitter and Joey Sankey. His hat tricks this year have come against Manhattan, Princeton, Syracuse and High Point.
- Leads the Tar Heels with three game-winning goals this year.
- Ranks third on the team in extra-man goals with three.
- His four goals against High Point on April 20 matched his career high set initally against Duke in the 2014 ACC Tournament semifinals.
- Named to 2014 Tewaaraton Award Watch List.
- First-team Face-off Yearbook preseason All-America.
- Named to All-ACC Tournament Team two years in a row (2012 and 2013).
- Tallied a career-high four goals against Duke in 2013 ACC Tournament semifinal. Also had a career-high five points against Duke in the same game.
- His six man-up goals in 2013 led the team.
- His 28 goals in 2013 were the most by any UNC midfielder since Sean DeLaney's 35 goals in 2009.
2014 GAME SUMMARIES
TAR HEELS DROP CLOSE MATCH TO WAHOOS IN ACC SHOWCASE: #8 Virginia outscored #6 North Carolina 9-3 over the last 33 minutes of the game to rally past the Tar Heels 13-11 in the ACC Showcase game at PPL Park on April 25. The Tar Heels ended their regular season with a 10-4 record with the losses coming by a total of five goals.
Mark Cockerton led the Cavaliers to the victory with a seven-point night on four goals and three assists. James Pannell added three goals and one assist for UVA while Ryan Tucker and Tyler German each had two goals for Virginia. German had the game-winning goal for the Cavaliers with six minutes to play.
Pat Foster led the Tar Heels offensively with a five-point night on two goals and three assists. Jimmy Bitter added a hat trick for UNC while Joey Sankey had a goal and two assists. Bitter now has 14 career hat tricks.
After the teams were tied at 4-4 at the end of the first quarter, UNC scored four straight goals to open the second period. Jimmy Bitter's goal with 6:26 to play in the second quarter gave Carolina an 8-4 lead but from that point on Virginia dominated the game, limiting Carolina to just three goals in the final 36:26 of action.
Trailing 8-5 at the half, Virginia scored twice in the opening 1:06 of the third quarter and eventually tied the game at 9-9 on Ryan Tucker's goal with 7:31 left in the period. Virginia outshot the Tar Heels 14-5 in the period and outscored Carolina 5-3 to pull within one goal entering the fourth quarter.
Virginia outscored the Tar Heels 3-0 in the final period to pull away for the victory and Matt Barrett made four of his nine saves in the final period to fend off any late offensive charge by Carolina.
STRONG FOURTH QUARTER LIFTS HEELS PAST PANTHERS: Chad Tutton, Jimmy Bitter and Joey Sankey combined for nine goals and Kieran Burke made 13 saves as sixth-ranked North Carolina outlasted High Point 12-8 on April 18 before a crowd of 1,897 fans at Vert Stadium. The crowd was the second largest for a home High Point lacrosse match, exceeded only by the crowd of 2,004 which saw the Panthers against Delaware on February 2, 2013.
UNC scored only one goal in the first quarter and was held scoreless in the third quarter but it exploded for six goals in the second and five in the fourth period. The Tar Heels took the lead for good on a Joey Sankey goal with 10:09 left in the second quarter although the Panthers twice pulled within a single goal in the second half of play.
Chad Tutton had a season-high four goals for the Tar Heels as he recorded the 12th hat trick of his career. He matched his career high for goals in a game set originally against Duke on April 26, 2013. Jimmy Bitter had three goals for Carolina as he recorded a hat trick for the second straight game and now has 13 for his career. Joey Sankey had two goals and two assists for Coach Joe Breschi's team while Steve Pontrello had a goal and an assist.
Seven different Panthers scored in the game led by Raleigh native Mitchell Dupere who had two goals and an assist. Matt Thistle, the Panthers' leading scorer, had a goal and two assists.
The game was fairly even statistically with UNC holding a 35-32 edge in shots and a 38-33 advantage in ground balls. High Point led at the face-off circle, winning 14 of 24 draws. Both goalkeepers - Kieran Burke for UNC and Austin Geisler of High Point - had 13 saves in the match.
Jamie Piluso won 14 of 24 face-offs for the Panthers and he had a game-leading 10 ground balls. Jimmy Bitter led the Tar Heels with six ground balls. High Point had 16 turnovers in the game, including 13 that were forced by UNC players. Eleven different Tar Heels had caused turnovers, led by Evan Connell and Ryan Creighton with two each. Carolina committed 12 turnovers. The Tar Heels were 21 of 22 in the clearing game while High Point was 15 of 18.
SYRACUSE NIPS TAR HEELS IN DOUBLE OVERTIME: Billy Ward scored at the 2:57 mark of the second overtime period to lift seventh-ranked Syracuse (8-3, 2-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) to an 11-10 victory over fourth-ranked North Carolina (9-3, 2-3) on April 12 in the Carrier Dome.
Kevin Rice led the Orange with three goals and three assists. Ward scored three times and added an assist, while Dylan Donahue and Nick Galasso each scored twice. Randy Staats had an assist for SU.
The Tar Heels dominated during much of the first half, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the opening 5:19 of the first quarter and eventually leading 4-1 after a goal by Bitter with 5:52 left in the period. Ward scored back-to-back goals for the Orange to close the quarter with UNC leading 4-3.
Tutton and Bitter each scored for Carolina in the second quarter. The Tar Heel defense held Syracuse scoreless in the second period to take a 6-3 lead into the lockerroom.
Syracuse scored quickly coming out of halftime on a score by Donahue just 45 seconds into the quarter. The Orange outscored Carolina 4-1 in the third period to tie it at 7-all entering the fourth. The teams traded goals with time winding down, with Syracuse taking its first lead at 9-8 with 7:47 left in regulation.
Tutton scored off a pass from Simpson for the Tar Heels, followed by an unassisted goal from Bitter, to put the Tar Heels back in the lead by a score of 10-9 with 3:10 to go. After UNC was able to run much of the remaining time off the clock by maintaining possession of the ball, Syracuse was able to get it back and Rice scored with 0:08 left to knot it at 10-all and force overtime.
Neither team scored in the first extra period before Ward ended things off an assist from Staats at the 2:57 mark of the second OT stanza.
Kieran Burke went the distance in goal for Carolina, making 14 saves, including three key stops in overtime.
The Orange outshot Carolina by a 38-31 margin, including 6-1 combined in the two overtime periods. Syracuse won 18 of 26 face-offs in the game.
TAR HEELS RALLY LATE AGAINST WAHOOS: North Carolina senior midfielder R.G. Keenan has a habit of scoring late-game, momentum-shifting goals in his career for the Tar Heels. He did it again on Saturday, April 5 on Senior Day at Fetzer Field as the #5 Tar Heels defeated the #9 Virginia Cavaliers 11-10 at sun-drenched Fetzer Field in men's lacrosse action.
Before a near capacity crowd of 4,952 fans, Keenan scored off his own face-off win with 2:28 remaining in the fourth quarter to rally the Tar Heels past the Cavaliers 11-10. Carolina improved to 9-2 on the season with the win and evened its ACC record at 2-2.
Carolina has now won four games in a row over the Cavaliers, the first time they have done that since 1990-92. The Wahoos had also won the last seven games between the two teams that had been decided by a single goal. Carolina's one-goal win on Saturday was the first time it beat the Cavaliers in that scenario since a 19-18 victory in 1996.
It was a classic ACC battle in which neither side was ever able to gain clear footing. UNC twice led by a pair of goals in the first half. But after the teams were deadlocked 5-5 at intermission neither team held more than a one-goal lead for the entirety of the second half.
Carolina carried a 9-8 edge into the fourth quarter but Virginia tied the game on Mark Cockerton's fourth goal of the match with 7:24 to play. After Matt Barrett made his 13th save of the game on a shot by UNC's Shane Simpson with 6:06 to play, the Wahoos went on a long possession, shooting wide three times before UVA head coach Dom Starsia called timeout with 4:10 to play. After another shot by Cockerton was off the mark, the Wahoos took a 10-9 lead with 3:38 to play as Greg Coholan scored his 10th goal of the season, assisted by Owen Van Arsdale.
Carolina won the ensuring face-off and worked the ball around for more than a minute before Pat Foster, who had a career high four assists, found a cutting Steve Pontrello all alone in front of the goal. Pontrello's 11th goal of the season tied the game at 10-10 with 2:33 to play.
Keenan, one of 12 seniors playing their final games at Fetzer Field, was perfect on the pinch and pop on the ensuing face-off as he seized the ground ball and went straight down the field and scored past Barrett just five seconds later. It was his second goal of the season. He also had the game-winner in the win at Johns Hopkins the previous Saturday.
The game was far from over, however. Virginia gained possession on the next face-off and a shot by Cockerton went wide with 1:51 to play. Nineteen seconds later, senior Ryan Creighton forced a turnover by James Pannell and senior Mark McNeill scooped up the ground ball and cleared successfully for UNC.
Carolina was able to hold the ball until a timer-on violation with 19 seconds left gave the ball to the Wahoos. But the Cavs were unable to clear as Ryan Creighton gathered in the ground ball off an errant pass by Chris LaPierre and ran off the final nine seconds before a raucous, partisan crowd.
Joey Sankey led the Tar Heels with three goals and two assists while Jimmy Bitter and Steve Pontrello each scored twice for Carolina. Pat Foster's four assists broke his previous career high of three set against Penn State his sophomore year and Bucknell earlier this year. Shane Simpson, Keenan, Luke Goldstock and Walker Chafee all had single goals for UNC. Single assists went to Spencer Parks and Chad Tutton.
TAR HEELS RALLY PAST BLUE JAYS AT HOMEWOOD: The fifth-ranked North Carolina men's lacrosse team outscored ninth-ranked Johns Hopkins 9-2 over the last 31:30 of the game to beat the Blue Jays 13-9 at Homewood Field March 29. Joey Sankey had a career high five goals and he matched his career high for points in a game with seven to lead the Tar Heel comeback.
UNC trailed 7-4 five minutes before halftime but scored the next six goals in a row to take a 10-7 lead that Carolina never relinquished.
Sankey led the Tar Heels with five goals and two assists while Steve Pontrello had a pair of goals for UNC. Shane Simpson had a goal and an assist for UNC while Pat Foster had two assists. Carolina's other goals came from Jimmy Bitter, Ryan Creighton, Chad Tutton, R.G. Keenan and Jake Matthai.
The statistics were extremely lopsided in the first half for Johns Hopkins but the Tar Heels were still very much in the game at the half, trailing just 7-5. For the game, the Blue Jays outshot the Tar Heels 40-29 and had a 27-22 edge in ground balls. But UNC had a 14-8 edge in ground balls in the second half when it mounted its comeback. Hopkins won 20 of 26 face-offs led by the work of Drew Kennedy who came into the match averaging 67.7 percent on draws.
Kieran Burke made 10 saves for UNC, including five in each half. Eric Schneider had seven saves for the Blue Jays but had only two saves in the second half when the Tar Heels put 10 shots on goal.
Sankey's previous career high for goals in a game was four. He accomplished that three times in his sophomore season in 2013. This is the third time he has had seven points in a game. He also did it against Dartmouth in games both last year and this season.
CAROLINA DEFEATS TOP-RANKED MARYLAND: Sixth-ranked North Carolina's efficient offense, combined with an outstanding defensive effort, led the Tar Heels to an 11-8 victory over top-ranked Maryland in men's lacrosse action March 22 at Kenan Stadium before a crowd of 6,135.
This marked the second straight year UNC has knocked the Terps when they were the No. 1 team in the nation. A year ago, Carolina beat the Terps at Byrd Stadium 10-8 on March 23, 2013. It also marked the third successive year Carolina has beaten a #1 team (it also beat Johns Hopkins in 2012) after having not knocked one off since 1996.
North Carolina ran its offense well, scoring 11 times on 31 shots and committing only 10 turnovers. UNC also benefitted from a perfect 16 for 16 in the clearing game and the Tar Heels scored twice on three EMO chances.
Both teams exhibited balanced offensive attacks. Pat Foster and Joey Sankey each had two goals and two assists for UNC and Shane Simpson had two goals and a helper. Chad Tutton, Jimmy Bitter, Spencer Parks, Jake Bailey and Walker Chafee also scored for UNC. An extra-man goal by Chafee with 3:40 to play in the second quarter put Carolina ahead for good at 5-4. Maryland crept within one goal three times in the second half but could never get an equalizer.
CAROLINA BOUNCES BACK WITH WIN OVER CRIMSON: North Carolina's sixth-ranked men's lacrosse team ended Harvard's three-game winning streak March 18 by a 13-10 score as both teams survived frigid conditions at UNC's Navy Turf Field. Temperatures hovered around 35 degrees on an overcast night.
UNC's midfielders stepped up big in a game where Harvard's defense did everything they could to stifle Carolina's powerful attack. Ten of Carolina's 13 goals came from midfielders as the Tar Heels improved to 6-2 on the season. After starting 1-2, the Crimson won three in a row before facing the Tar Heels as they fall to 4-3.
The difference in the game was a 4-0 scoring run by the Tar Heels in the first six minutes of the second half as UNC increased a 6-5 halftime lead to 10-5. Pat Foster opened the second half to put UNC up by two. Walker Chafee ran off two goals and Chad Tutton another, all in a span of just 38 seconds, giving UNC a 10-5 lead with 9:54 left in the third quarter.
TAR HEELS DROP OVERTIME HEARTBREAKER AT DUKE: Fourth-ranked Duke went on a 4-1 run over the last 13 minutes of the game to earn a 9-8 overtime win over fifth-ranked North Carolina in front of 3,887 fans at Koskinen Stadium March 15. Jordan Wolf scored his fourth goal of the game 1:26 into overtime to lift the Blue Devils to victory in the rivalry game.
Wolf was involved in five of Duke's nine goals, spoiling an outstanding defensive effort by UNC which held Duke to single digits in goals for only the second time in the last 15 meetings. Conversely, UNC was held to single digits in goals for the first time in a little over a year, an 11-8 Duke win in Chapel Hill last year.
Wolf's four goals and one assist led Duke and Kyle Keenan added a hat trick for the Blue Devils who scored keys goals in the transition game throughout the day. Seven of Duke's nine tallies were assisted goals.
Both goalkeepers were outstanding on the day as Luke Aaron made 15 saves for Duke and Kieran Burke made 15 saves for UNC.
UNC'S OFFENSE EXPLODES IN VICTORY OVER BISON: The fourth-ranked University of North Carolina men's lacrosse team outscored Bucknell 18-2 over the last 48:02 of the game to emerge with a 20-4 win over the Bison on a beautiful and sunny March 11 afternoon at Fetzer Field.
The Tar Heels, ranked #5 Warrior Inside Lacrosse and #4 by the USILA, improved to 5-1 on the season with the win over the Bison as the two teams met for the first time since 2003. Bucknell has lost three matches in a row and is now 2-4.
Joey Sankey, Luke Goldstock and Patrick Kelly each had hat tricks for the Tar Heels in the victory. That gives Sankey 12 for his career while Goldstock and Kelly had three-goal games for the first times as Tar Heels. Carolina's starting attack unit of Sankey, Pat Foster and Jimmy Bitter combined to produce 15 points as Sankey had three goals and three assists, Foster two goals and three assists and Bitter two goals and two assists. Foster's three assists matched his career high initially set against Penn State on February 11, 2012.
FOURTH QUARTER RALLY LIFTS TAR HEELS PAST TIGERS: Pat Foster and Chad Tutton each recorded hat tricks and Jimmy Bitter and Joey Sankey each had four points as 6th-ranked North Carolina defeated 13th-ranked Princeton 13-11 at Sherrerd Field at Class of 1952 Stadium on Friday, March 7. The game was played before a crowd of 1,717 fans and a national television audience on ESPNU.
Tutton recorded his second hat trick of the season and 10th of his career in the win over the Tigers. For the second straight year, the junior midfielder from Courtice, Ontario scored the game-winning goal against Princeton. He scored with 3:50 to play in the game to break an 11-11 tie as Carolina went on to beat the Tigers for the fifth straight season.
A year ago, Tutton scored the game-winner against the Tigers with three seconds to play as the Tar Heels won 16-15 at Fetzer Field.
North Carolina had three-goal leads in the game in the first quarter and the third quarter. Princeton erased both of those leads with four-goal runs, the latter which put the Tigers up 11-10 with 14 minutes to play in the game. UNC's Shane Simpson tied the game for the Heels with 10:09 to play before goals by Tutton and Jimmy Bitter gave the Tar Heels their final two-goal cushion.
UNC DROPS FIRST GAME OF SEASON TO FIGHTING IRISH: North Carolina suffered its opening loss of the season when it fell to Notre Dame 11-10 at Fetzer Field March 1. This marked the second straight year that the Fighting Irish have rallied late to beat the Tar Heels.
UNC led 8-3 midway through the third quarter but the Irish went on an 8-1 scoring run to take an 11-9 lead with 4:14 to play. Jimmy Bitter, who had a hat trick, got one back for the Tar Heels but Notre Dame was able to kill most of the last four minutes off the clock and hold on for the 11-10 win.
TAR HEELS EXCEL AGAINST THE BIG GREEN: North Carolina improved to 3-0 on the season with a workmanlike 18-5 victory over the Dartmouth Big Green at Fetzer Field on Saturday, February 22.
Carolina improved to 11-3 all-time against the Big Green and won its 11th game in a row in the series.
Carolina's 13-goal margin of victory was the largest for the Tar Heels against Dartmouth since March 25, 1990 when UNC downed the Big Green 23-5 at Fetzer Field.
The Tar Heels outshot the Big Green 52-20 in the match and led in ground balls 43-26 and face-offs 18-9.
Offensively, the Tar Heels got a big game from Joey Sankey with three goals and four assists as he tied his career highs for assists and points in a match. Jimmy Bitter kicked in with a hat trick for Carolina while Pat Foster, Chad Tutton, Michael Tagliaferri and Walker Chafee each recorded a pair of goals.
Senior Frankie Kelly was a positive factor for the Tar Heels at the face-off X as he won 11 of 18 draws and scooped up five ground balls. His younger brother, Stephen, a freshman was also stellar in the face-off circle with 7 of 8 face-off wins and seven ground balls.
Sophomore Kieran Burke made his 20th straight start in goal for Carolina and made eight saves while allowing only three goals in 49:04 of action. Duncan Saunders finished up in goal for the Tar Heels.
TAR HEELS TAKE CARE OF MANHATTAN: Carolina won its eighth straight home opener with a 21-5 win over Manhattan on Sunday, February 16 at the Navy Field Turf facility in the first ever meeting between the two teams.
Just as it did against Furman the previous Sunday, the Tar Heels came out as a serious bunch and built a huge first-half lead, allowing Coach Breschi to play his entire roster. Carolina led 7-1 after the first quarter and 13-3 at halftime and then outscored the Jaspers 8-2 in the second half.
Twelve different Tar Heels scored goals against the Jaspers and nine players had assists. Three Tar Heels - Joey Sankey, Chad Tutton and Shane Simpson - had hat tricks. Jimmy Bitter and Joey Sankey each had two assists.
Carolina had a 66-28 edge in shots and a 40-29 advantage in ground balls. Carolina was also excellent at the X, winning 18 of 30 draws despite the fact three-year face-off starter R.G. Keenan sat out the match with an injury.
CAROLINA OPENS SEASON WITH IMPRESSIVE WIN OVER FURMAN: North Carolina opened its season with a 19-3 win at first-year program Furman on Sunday, Feb. 9. One of the most noticeable things in the box score in UNC's victory was the balanced nature of the scoring. The Tar Heels had 14 different players score goals in the game. Junior attackman Joey Sankey led the Tar Heels with three goals and the other multiple goal scorers with two each were senior midfielder T.J. Kemp, sophomore attackman Spencer Parks and sophomore midfielder Brent Armstrong.
Carolina's leading scorer points wise against the Paladins was sophomore attackman Patrick Kelly who had a career-high four points. Kelly scored a goal and led the Tar Heels with three assists. Those were the first three assists of Kelly's career.