February 8, 2014

North Carolina Women Dominate Florida in Opener

from Press Release

In-Game Blog Replay


CHAPEL HILL – Top-ranked and defending NCAA champion North Carolina opened its national title defense with a dominating, 20-8 win over fourth-ranked Florida on Saturday at Fetzer Field in the season opener for both teams. Freshman Sydney Holman and senior Abbey Friend each tallied five goals and two assists to lead the Tar Heels.

Carolina also got three goals apiece from Taylor George and Aly Messinger and a goal and an assist from freshman Maggie Bill. Freshmen Molly Hendrick and Carly Reed each scored once, as did junior Lindsay Scott. Juniors Sam McGee and Morgan Rubin each had assists for Carolina.

Florida was led by Shannon Gilroy, who had four goals and an assist in a losing effort. Sammi Burgess had one goal and two asissts for the Gators, while Sam Darcangelo, Mollie Stevens and Darcy Messina each scored single goals.

Tar Heel sophomore Megan Ward went the distance in goal, recording nine saves. Cara Canington started and made 13 saves while allowing 12 goals in the cage for Florida. Mary-Sean Wilcox played the final 13:24, making two saves and allowing eight goals.

UNC out-shot Florida, 41-24, and gathered 24 ground balls to UF's 12. The Tar Heels controlled 18 draws to the Gators' 11.

The Tar Heels jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the opening eight minutes and led 6-2 at halftime. They then scored four of the first five goals after halftime to go up by seven goals at 10-3. The Gators never got closer than a six-goal margin the rest of the way.

Carolina got the first two draw controls of the game and quickly jumped out to a 2-0 lead on unassisted goals by Messinger (1:07 into the game) and Friend (at 28:36) in the first minute and a half. Holman put the Tar Heels up 3-0 with a steal on a UF clear attempt followed by a quick score at 22:36.

Florida stopped the run with a free position goal from Burgess at the 19:26 mark. Gilroy took a pass from Burgess and scored with 11:54 left in the half to cut the UNC lead to one at 3-2.

The Tar Heels then closed the first half on a 3-0 run. George's first goal came off a pass from McGee from behind the cage with 10:36 to go, making it 4-2. Messinger scored unassisted with 4:31 left to give Carolina a three-goal lead again at 5-2, slicing through the eight-meter arc from left to right and scoring in the lower right corner of the cage. Holman scored her second goal with 3:23 left in the half to give the Tar Heels their biggest lead to that point, four goals, at 6-2.

Friend started off the second half for UNC with an unassisted goal from the left side 3:01 into the period, making it 7-2. Friend assisted Holman's third goal just 18 seconds later at 26:41, forcing a Gator timeout with the Tar Heels leading 8-2.

Stevens' free position goal for Florida stopped the UNC run at 5-0 and cut it to 8-3 Tar Heels with 24:16 to go. Friend responded with her third goal of the game at 23:42, making it 9-3. Messinger's third goal of the day came shortly thereafter on a pass from Holman. Darcangelo scored unassisted for Florida at 22:20. Gilroy scored her second goal on a free position try with 19:56 to play, making it 10-5 Tar Heels.

Holman scored off a pass from classmate Bill at 13:39 to give UNC an 11-5 lead. Bill followed 11 seconds later with her first career goal, driving through the middle for a score that made it 12-5.

After a goalie change for the Gators, the scoring continued as George scored her second goal off a pass from Holman, making it 13-5 with 12:28 to play. Friend's fourth goal made it 14-5, and Holman scored shortly thereafter to make it 15-5. Florida's Gilroy scored with 8:32 to go to make it 15-6, then scored again with 7:18 to go to make it 15-7 Tar Heels. Carolina responded with three straight goals in under four minutes to put things out of reach.

Carolina will return to action next weekend with a home game next Friday (Feb. 14) against Boston University at 4 p.m.

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