April 14, 2011

North Carolina Empties Bench in Blowout Win

from press release

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Ten different players scored goals and 34 saw action as North Carolina's ninth-ranked men's lacrosse team defeated Presbyterian College 15-5 Thursday night at Fetzer Field. Billy Bitter recorded his 15th career hat trick and freshman Nicky Galasso had a game-high four points with two goals and two assists.

The Tar Heels improved to 8-4 on the season as UNC head coach Joe Breschi was able to play his complete roster. After Carolina surged to a 10-3 lead with more than six minute left in the second quarter reserve players went most of the rest of the way for the Tar Heels with several first-time players making key contributions.

While attack starters Thomas Wood (1 goal, 2 assists), Billy Bitter (3 goals) and Nicky Galasso (2 goals, 2 assists) led the way, Sean Taylor, Stevie Kirkup and Stephen Burns from the sophomore class all recorded their first career goals. Taylor had two tallies while Kirkup had a goal and an assist and Burns added an unassisted fourth-quarter goal.

Taylor and Kirkup were joined by goalkeeper Matt Holman, defenseman Connor Hunt and face-off man James Shuler in playing their first career minutes. Other scorers for UNC were freshman midfielder Ryan Creighton with two goals, freshman midfielder Mark McNeill with a goal and an assist, freshman midfielder Will Campbell with a goal and junior defenseman Mark Staines with a goal, his third goal in the last two games. Senior Matt Davie and juniors Jeff Muscatello and Jimmy Dunster had assists for UNC.
Presbyterian was led by Patrick Foy with three points on a goal and two assists while Tyler Melnyk had two scores and Andrew Athens a goal and an assist for the Blue Hose, who fell to 2-9 on the campaign.

UNC dominated the game statistically with an edge of 54-16 in shots and 53-29 in ground balls. R.G. Keenan won 11 of 12 face-offs and Frankie Kelly was successful on 8 of 11 draws to lead a 19-5 edge at the X for the Heels. Keenan led UNC in ground balls with seven while Kelly, Bitter, Kevin Piegare and Michael Burns all had four ground balls. Twenty-five different Tar Heels had at least one ground ball.

Three different Tar Heels played in the goal with Steven Rastivo and Chris Madalon making three saves each. Matt Holman saw his first career action in the fourth quarter and was well protected by his defense which forced nine of the 24 Presbyterian turnovers in the final 15 minutes of the match. Jon Athens played the first three quarters for PC in goal and made nine saves and had a team-high seven ground balls. Joseph Fiorucci came in for the final 15 minutes and had five saves while allowing only two goals.

The Tar Heels opened the scoring with goals by Bitter, assisted by Wood, and Galasso, assisted by Dunster, in the opening seven minutes of play. That did not deter the Blue Hose who rebounded with back-to-back goals by Foy and Melnyk 1:18 apart, tying the game at 2-2 with 4:59 left in the first quarter. The Tar Heels took the lead for good with 2:52 left in the opening quarter when Mark Staines scored on a rebound of a shot that hit the pipe by Bitter. Keenan won the ensuing face-off and Bitter dodged from goal line extended to make it 4-2 just 15 seconds later. The Tar Heels capped the scoring with four seconds left when Galasso found Bitter with a nifty cross cage feed to make it 5-2.

The Blue Hose opened the scoring in the second quarter on a transition goal by Andrew Athens just 2:16 into the period. From that point on it was all Carolina however. Galasso scored on a high, hard shot off an assist by Wood 17 seconds later and that seemed to blunt the Blue Hose's momentum. Creighton, McNeill, Campbell and Wood scored in rapid succession to make the lead 10-3 with 6:28 left in the half. Kirkup assisted on Wood's goal less than 30 seconds after making his first appearance in a UNC uniform. The sophomore attackman then scored a goal of his own off a ground ball pickup with 2:04 left in the half.

After 14 combined goals in the first half, the teams settled into a more subdued mode after halftime. UNC outscored the Blue Hose 2-1 in both the third and fourth quarters.

Sean Taylor, also seeing his first career action, scored back-to-back goals at 5:08 of the third quarter and 9:14 of the fourth quarter. He garnered assists by upperclassmen Jeff Muscatello and Matt Davie on those two goals. After Kel Harrison finished the scoring for PC at 7:27, UNC sophomore Stephen Burns notched his first career goal at 5:16 on a powerful dodge to the cage. That finished off the scoring in the contest in the first ever meeting between the two teams.

UNC will travel to the Keystone State this weekend to meet the Lehigh Mountain Hawks Sunday at 12 noon at Goodman Stadium in Bethlehem, Pa. The game will be nationally televised on CBS College Sports TV with Dave Ryan doing the play by play and Matt Danowski the color analysis.

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