March 3, 2012

Carolina Pounds Penn in Top 10 Battle

from press release

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The second-ranked North Carolina women's lacrosse team exploded for 11 goals after halftime to beat No. 7 Penn 15-6 Saturday afternoon at Fetzer Field. The Tar Heels improved to 6-0 with the win, while the Quakers fell to 1-1.

"Today was a great test for our team," UNC coach Jenny Levy said. "Penn is a good opponent and they're someone we traditionally have problems playing. What I was most impressed about is I really liked our defensive discipline, I really liked our ability to share the ball, I thought we played very unselfish, we played a great team game and we somewhat let the game come to us. "

Sophomore Abbey Friend scored four goals to lead Carolina, and senior Laura Zimmerman and junior Emily Garrity added three each. Senior Becky Lynch and sophomore Brittney Coppa both scored two and junior Kara Cannizzaro had one.

Penn got on the board first, less than a minute into play on a goal by junior Caroline Bunting. Cannizzaro's goal tied the game for Carolina five minutes later and the Tar Heels reeled off four in a row before the Quakers' Bunting answered 9:16 before halftime.

The Tar Heels took at 4-2 lead into the break, but came out to score three goals - two by Zimmerman and one by Garrity - in just over a minute early in the second period.

"I thought in the first half we had some really good looks that either the goalie made a great save on or we were a little impatient ¬ - I thought we maybe could've gotten a better look," Levy said. "So we told them, `Be aggressive to the cage but at the same time, find the high percentage shots.' Penn goes a great job of playing team defense. They get in shooting lanes and they double-team quickly, so I thought we made a couple of adjustments at halftime which really helped open up the game at the beginning of the second half."

With UNC up 7-2, Penn junior Meredith Cain scored on an assist from Erin Brennan to temporarily halt the UNC run with 26:35 on the clock. Carolina answered with a goal by Friend, assisted by Zimmerman, and then the Quakers came back with an unassisted goal by Brennan to put the score at 8-4.

The Tar Heels then scored five goals in a row to pull away for good. Coppa had both of hers as well as an assist in that span, while Garrity, Lynch and Zimmerman also scored before Penn came up with two more goals in less than a minute with about eight minutes remaining in the game. The final two goals, unassisted shots from Friend and Lynch, put the final score at 15-6 and gave the Tar Heels their sixth win in a row.

Junior Lauren Maksym made eight saves in playing all 60 minutes. Penn goalkeeper Emily Leitner made 11 saves, nine of them in the first half.

Next up for UNC is another nonconference home game, on Tuesday at 5 p.m. against Lehigh. Carolina opens Atlantic Coast Conference play next Saturday at Virginia.

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