March 11, 2014

North Carolina Explodes in Second Half; Routs Bucknell

from Press Release 

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - 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 Tuesday afternoon at Fetzer Field.

The Tar Heels, ranked #5 Warrior Inside Lacrosse and #4 by the USILA and sixth by Lacrosse Magazine, 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 Bittercombined 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.

Altogether, UNC got 11 goals from non-starters with both Goldstock and Kelly recording three goals and an assist. Freshman Michael Tagliaferri had a goal and two assists and the Tar Heels also got single goals from Chad Tutton, Steve Pontrello, T.J. Kemp, Spencer Parks, Ryan Creighton and Mark McNeill.

Bitter and Sankey ran their streaks for games with a point to 32 and 27, respectively. Bitter has scored goals in 27 of the past 29 games and Sankey has tallied goals in 24 of the past 27.

After having three brilliant saves made against him in the first half by Bucknell goalkeeper Sam Grinberg, UNC midfielder Chad Tutton finally got on the board against backup netminder Frank Morelli with 10:02 left in the game. The goal allowed Tutton to run his scoring streak to 19 straight games and even more amazingly to 31 of the past 32 contests.

Carolina dominated all facets of the game statistically, outshooting the Bison 57-28 and win the ground ball battle by a decisive 52-19. UNC also won 18 of 27 face-offs and was 50 percent on man-up, scoring four of eight times. The only negative on the UNC stat sheet was the 14 turnovers, four over the season per game average.

Freshman Stephen Kelly had his second straight game with double digits in both face-off wins and ground balls as he was 14 of 18 from the X and scooped up a game-high 10 ground balls. Sankey had seven ground balls, just two shy of his career high, and Tutton, Pontrello, Kieran Burke, Ryan Kilpatrick and Evan Connell each had three ground ball pick ups.

After struggling against Princeton last Friday night, Burke turned in an outstanding performance in the goal for UNC as he made 12 saves and allowed only four goals in 52:10 of action. Duncan Saunders made a pair of saves in 4:39 for the Tar Heels and Bradley Dunn logged 3:11 without facing a shot on goal.

Both teams employed four face-off men and three goalkeepers in the contest. Brent Armstrong won 3 of 4 face-offs for UNC as he assisted Kelly in the circle while both Eric Monfort and Gavin Sullivan each went 4 of 11 for the Bison.

Grinberg went 41:23 in goal for the Bison and he made 12 saves while allowing 15 goals. Morelli and Jake Kennedy logged a combined 18 plus minutes in goal for Bucknell.

The 20 goals by UNC matched the second highest total for the Tar Heels in the Joe Breschicoaching era. UNC also scored 20 against Denver on February 14, 2009 and against High Point on April 20, 2013. Carolina's top offensive performance since Breschi became head coach in 2009 was in a 21-5 win over Manhattan on February 16 of this year.

UNC has started out the season scoring in double digits in each of the first six games. That's the first time it has done that since it scored in double digits in each of the first seven matches in 2007.

After the two teams traded goals in the opening 9:25 of the game, Jimmy Bitter put the Tar Heels up for good at 3-2 with a goal at 3:02 of the first quarter, assisted by Pat Foster. Luke Goldstockscored back-to-back goals for UNC on extra-man situations to make it 5-2. Patrick Kelly scored the first of his three goals 1:20 before halftime, assisted by Bitter, to build a 6-2 lead for Carolina.

The opening five minutes of the second half completely changed the complexion of the game as UNC rattled off five goals in 3:34. Pat Foster scored twice in that run (including a bounce shot between his legs with his back to the goal at 11:59) and Goldstock, Bitter and Sankey also tallied goals. When Sankey scored off a Foster assist the UNC lead had ballooned to 11-2 with just 4:32 gone in the second half.

David Dickson fought to keep the Bison in the game as he and Sankey traded goals for UNC and the third quarter ended 13-4 in favor of the Tar Heels.

Carolina went on to outscore the Bison 7-0 in the fourth quarter. Patrick Kelly had two goals and an assist in the final quarter and short-stick defensive midfielders Mark McNeill and Ryan Creightoneach scored their first goals of the season.

The Tar Heels will be back in action again on Saturday at 2 p.m. when they travel to Koskinen Stadium in Durham, N.C. for an Atlantic Coast Conference matchup against Duke. The Blue Devils are 5-2 overall, 0-1 in the ACC. They are currently ranked #4 by Warrior Inside Lacrosse and #6 by the USILA coaches.

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