March 18, 2014

No. 7 UNC Ends Harvard Winning Streak 13-10

from press release

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -  North Carolina's seventh-ranked men's lacrosse team ended Harvard's three-game winning streak Tuesday night 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.

UNC needed that cushion as lacrosse is a game of runs and Harvard had one of its own in the opening six minutes of the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to 10-8.  But Steve Pontrello came up with two late goals and Ryan Creighton added an insurance tally in the final minute to produce the final three-goal margin.  UNC never saw its lead dip under two goals after Foster's goal early in the third quarter.

Pontrello finished the game with three goals, earning his first career hat trick.  Chad Tutton and Walker Chafee each scored twice for UNC. Joey Sankey had a goal and two assists and Pat Foster had one and one.  Carolina's other goals came from Jimmy Bitter, Jake Matthai, Ryan Creighton and Mark McNeill.

Harvard was led by Sean Mahon, Carl Zimmerman and Daniel Eipp who each tallied twice for the Crimson.  Eipp also added and assist.  Peter Schwartz had a goal and two assists for Harvard and Devin Dwyer fed teammates with four assists.

UNC outshot the Crimson 36-31 but Harvard edged UNC in ground balls 34-31 including a 29-19 margin in the final three quarters.  Turnovers were an issue for both teams on a frigid night with Harvard committing 15 and North Carolina 16.

The face-off X was virtually even with Harvard winning 14 and UNC 13.  Six of Harvard's wins were on face-off violations.

Kieran Burke made 10 saves for UNC, including six in the third quarter when UNC outscored Harvard 4-0.  Jake Gambitsky had eight saves for Harvard but UNC scored on 10 of its 15 shots on goal after the first quarter.

Both teams did well on EMO with Harvard going 3 for 6 and UNC 2 for 3.

Harvard jumped out to a 2-0 lead less than 10 minutes into the game before UNC answered with unassisted goals by Mark McNeill, Chad Tutton and Joey Sankey to go up 3-2 after one quarter.

After Harvard tied the game 1:16 into the second period, UNC ran off three goals to go up 6-3.  Those three tallies came off the sticks of Jake Matthai, Steve Pontrello and Jimmy Bitter.  The Crimson then ran off the last two tallies of their own to cut UNC's lead to 6-5 at the half.

Carolina made its scoring run early in the third quarter, going up 10-5, its biggest lead of the game.  Harvard bounced back with three goals to start the fourth quarter, cutting UNC's lead to 10-8 with 9:14 left in the game.  But twice UNC got goals in the fourth quarter from Pontrello to stave off the Harvard rally.

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