HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. - Sixth-ranked North Carolina scored the last 11 goals of the game, including a 10-0 margin in the second half, to defeat Hofstra 14-5 Saturday night in front of a season-high Hofstra home crowd of 5,345 fans at James M. Shuart Stadium.
Senior attackman Marcus Holman had three goals and four assists in the game to move into second place all-time in both career goals and career points at UNC as Carolina won for the sixth straight time, improving to 9-3 on the campaign. The Tar Heels have not lost since falling to Duke 11-8 at Fetzer Field on March 13. The Pride fell to 7-5 on the season as Carolina has now won the last four games in the series against Hofstra after the Pride had won six of the first seven meetings between the two teams.
Carolina trailed twice by two goals in the first half but held the Pride scoreless for the last 34:38 of the game as freshman goalkeeper Kieran Burke continued his hot play in the cage. Burke finished with 12 saves while allowing five goals, a 70.5 save percentage. In the past six games, he has made 88 saves, while allowing only 47 goals (.651). He also equaled his career high with seven ground balls in the win over the Pride.
Carolina held the Pride without a goal for the final 34:48 of the contest. That is the longest scoreless streak for a UNC opponent since the Tar Heels held Bellarmine without a goal for the final 48:26 of a 15-2 Tar Heel win at Fetzer Field on February 16, 2008.
Hofstra did not score against Burke or his backup Bradley Dunn after Lance Yapor scored off an assist by Adrian Sorichetti with 4:38 to play in the first half. That goal put Hofstra up 5-3 but Burke saved all eight shots on goal against him in the second half before yielding to the walk-on Dunn with 3:12 to play in the game.
Offensively, Marcus Holman had his usual workmanlike effort for UNC. When he scored with 7:11 left in the first quarter, it was not only the first goal of his 16th career hat trick, it also marked the 27th successive game in which he has scored a goal. That ties the school record for consecutive games with a goal set by All-America attackman Mac Ford in the mid 1980s. Holman can break the record next Friday when UNC plays High Point on Senior Night.
Holman's three goals give him 114 for his career. He passed both Ford and Jed Prossner on Saturday night and now ranks second in UNC history behind only Bert Fett, who scored 128 goals from 1972-75. Holman's seven points pushed his career total to 193. He passed John Webster, Dennis Goldstein, Michael Burnett and Bert Fett on the all-time points list in the game and now trails only Bruce Ledwith (1970-73) who had 204 points in his career. His four assists give him 79 for his career and he is now tied with John Webster (1990-93) for fifth place all-time at UNC.
While Holman had a game in which his historical numbers caught the headlines, it was a total team effort on the offensive end as Carolina rang up 14 goals against the nation's #1-ranked scoring defense. The Tar Heels had nine different goal scorers and were able to exploit some one-on-one matchups as Carolina tallied nine of their 14 goals unassisted. Chad Tutton had a hat trick, the fifth of his career, while Joey Sankey had two goals and an assist. Jimmy Bitter, Davey Emala, Steve Pontrello, Ryan Creighton, Spencer Parks and Patrick Kelly each scored goals for the Tar Heels. Lance Yapor had two goals for the Pride while Adrian Sorichetti and Sam Llinares each had a goal and an assist for Hofstra.
R.G. Keenan had a stellar game at the X for Carolina, winning 12 of 20 face-offs and earning a game-high eight ground balls. Senior defenseman Kieran McDonald matched his career high for ground balls in a game as he had seven. Overall, UNC had a 37-27 edge in ground balls. Carolina outshot the Pride 48-28, including a 17-5 edge in the third quarter when UNC went on a 7-0 scoring run. As a team, UNC finished with 13 saves while sophomore goalkeeper Chris Selva had 17 saves for Hofstra. UNC won 13 of 22 face-offs overall. Hofstra had 12 turnovers in the game while Carolina had 10, including seven in the fourth quarter after committing only three in the first 45 minutes of the match. UNC went 3 for 6 on the extra-man while Hofstra finished 1 for 3.
Hofstra opened the scoring with 4:58 elapsed as Sam Llinares tallied off an assist from Tyler Johnston. On the play, UNC defensive midfielder Greg McBride sustained a right leg injury and did not return to action as Ryan Creighton, Mark McNeill and Jake Matthai combined to take extra runs the remainder of the contest at short stick defensive midfield. Less than two minutes later Hofstra made it 2-0 on an unassisted goal by Lance Yapor. Quickly, the Tar Heels faced an early two-goal deficit against the team leading the nation in scoring defense at 6.36 goals per game. The Tar Heels did not flinch, however, as Marcus Holman scored at 7:11 on a stellar individual move to cut the deficit to one and then fed Spencer Parks for some high heat at 5:38 of the quarter for a tie game.
Neither team scored the remainder of the first quarter but the Pride regained the lead as Adrian Sorichetti sent a shot over Burke's left shoulder at 13:22 of the second quarter, assisted by Llinares. Hofstra then killed off a one-minute penalty before Tutton tallied on an under-handed shovel shot from five yards out to tie the game with 9:28 left before halftime after a crazy unsettled sequence. Carolina had another EMO chance but again Hofstra denied the Tar Heels and then capitalized when Drew Coholan scored an unassisted goal at 6:32 to regain the lead. Less than two minutes later, with Marcus Holman serving a penalty for a push against HU goalie Selva, the Pride made it 5-3 with an EMO goal by Yapor, assisted by Sorichetti, at 4:38. From then on, the Tar Heels pitched a shutout.
Tutton scored his second goal of the game on an outside bounce shot with 4:13 left in the half and then the Tar Heels survived a Hofstra EMO after a slashing call against Ryan Kilpatrick, keeping the deficit a single goal at halftime.
After Evan Connell was called for pushing with five seconds left in the first half, the Pride started the second half a man up for 25 seconds and with possession. It was the first halftime deficit UNC had faced since the Duke game on March 13 and was similar to the last two meetings with Hofstra. In both games (2009 at Hofstra and 2012 in Charlotte), UNC trailed at the half by a goal but came back to win with strong second half efforts (13-8 in 2009 and 12-9 in 2012).
That scenario played out again Saturday night. The Tar Heels killed off the penalty in the opening half minute and then dominated the third quarter in every aspect. Ryan Creighton tied the game on a nifty goal on a wrap around at 13:26 before freshman Steve Pontrello gave the Tar Heels the lead for good on an outside bounce shot at 12:43 of the third period.
The lead grew to two tallies as Tutton scored on a bounce shot off an assist by Holman on the extra-man at 9:24. Holman went low to high from in close at 7:31 for a three-goal cushion and then Davey Emala scored an unassisted goal at 6:03 to force a Hofstra timeout. The Heels added to their lead with a timer-on goal by Sankey at 3:54 and then another goal by the Philadelphian off an assist by Holman with 16 seconds left in the period. That extra-man goal was Sankey's 30th goal of the season and Holman's 29th assist.
UNC added three more goals in the fourth quarter. Jimmy Bitter scored an unassisted goal on a tough angle from the left side at 8:53. Holman then scored his 30th goal of the campaign, yet another EMO goal, assisted by Sankey at 6:42. UNC finished off the scoring with freshman Patrick Kelly scoring off an assist by Holman, his 30th helper of the year, at 5:07.
Sankey and Holman both joined the 30-goal club on Saturday and Holman's 30 assists equal the eighth most in a season in UNC history. His 60 points mark only the 11th time a Carolina player has reached that plateau in a single campaign.
Burke exited the game with 3:12 to play as junior Bradley Dunn came on in the cage. A former member of the UNC club lacrosse team, Dunn was added to the roster on March 26 after injuries sidelined Andrew O'Connell, Steven Rastivo and Duncan Saunders. The Sapphire, N.C. native has been the only backup to Burke for the last four games. He earned his first playing time of his career and his save on a shot by Aaron Jones with 1:51 to play set off the biggest celebration of the night on the Carolina sidelines.
Carolina held Hofstra without a goal in the second half, the first time UNC has held an opponent scoreless in a half of play since March 18, 2008 when UNC beat Marist 12-3 at Fetzer Field. The Red Foxes did not score in the second half of that game as UNC held them without a goal for the final 34:04 of the game.
The Tar Heels will be back in action again next Friday when they play host to the High Point Panthers, in their first year as a varsity team, at Fetzer Field at 7 p.m. The game will mark the final regular-season home game for eight UNC senior players (Marcus Holman, Kieran McDonald, Davey Emala, William Scroggs, Sean Taylor, Stephen Burns, Steven Rastivo and Stevie Kirkup).