February 12, 2012

Tar Heels Use Balanced Scoring To Fly By Mercer

from press release

ATLANTA, Ga. — North Carolina got goals from 12 different players and assists from nine players and played its entire roster as the sixth-ranked Tar Heels defeated the Mercer Bears 20-7 at the Lovett School in Atlanta Sunday afternoon. The Tar Heel men's lacrosse team improves to 2-0 on the young season while the Bears fell to 0-2 with the loss.

UNC freshmen scored 13 goals and had seven assists in the match. The 13 goals were a school record total for freshmen in a game.

After an early 1-1 tie the Tar Heels broke open the game with eight straight goals over a span of less than 13 minutes to make the score 9-1 with 13:41 left in the second quarter. Mercer closed the half strong, scoring three of the last five goals of the second period. A tally by Keoni Rausch 37 seconds into the third quarter pulled the Bears within six goals at 11-5 but UNC ran off eight successive goals to end the period and gain its biggest lead of the game at 19-5.

Freshmen Joey Sankey and Chad Tutton each scored three goals to lead the way for the Tar Heels while freshmen Jimmy Bitter, Walker Chafee and Drew Hays and junior Davey Emala had two goals each. Pat Foster, Stephen Burns, T.J. Kemp, Will Campbell, R.G. Keenan and Derek Henson all had single goals for UNC. Sankey, Tutton, Chafee, Hays, Kemp and Henson all had their first goals in UNC uniforms.

Sankey finished with six points overall as he added three assists while Bitter finished with four points overall as he pitched in with two helpers. Burns, Chafee, Jimmy Dunster, Foster, Frankie Kelly, Kemp and Tutton also added assists. The assist was the first career point for Kelly.

The Bears were led offensively by Cole Branch and Zach Ward who each had two goals. Branch also had a pair of assists to give him a four-point day. Mercer's other goal scorers were Eoin Collins, Harry Baker and Keoni Rausch.

UNC outshot the Bears 56-26 and won the ground ball battle 55-29. Sankey led the Tar Heels with nine ground balls while R.G. Keenan had six. Justin Evans led the Bears with six ground balls.

Carolina finished with a 20-11 edge at the face-off circle. Sophomore R.G. Keenan won 13 of 16 face-off for UNC while Frankie Kelly won seven of his 14 attempts. Justin Evans finished 11 of 28 from the face-off circle for the Bears.

UNC played three different goalkeepers. Steven Rastivo played the first half and made four saves, Matt Holman manned the net in the third quarter and made two saves and Andrew O'Connell played the fourth quarter making five saves. Dillon Volk played the first 36:23 for Mercer and made 12 saves while allowing 17 goals. Justin Bateman made four saves and allowed three goals in his 23:37 of work.

The 20 goals scored by UNC were the most in a game for the Tar Heels since they defeated Denver 20-7 on February 14, 2009.

After UNC took an initial 1-0 lead, Zach Ward tied the game for Mercer with 10:59 left in the first quarter. R.G. Keenan won the ensuing face-off and scored four seconds later to give the Tar Heels the lead for good in the game. Carolina scored five more times in the first quarter, all in a span of 3:07, to lead 7-1 after one quarter. Five different players — Will Campbell, Joey Sankey, Drew Hays, T.J. Kemp and Chad Tutton — scored during the run.

UNC's other big scoring run came in the third quarter after Rausch's goal for Mercer cut the Tar Heels' lead to 11-5 with 14:23 left in the third quarter. Jimmy Bitter scored seven seconds later off an assist by Joey Sankey. That sparked a run of eight goals in just 7:21. Sankey finished off the run with an unassisted goal with 6:55 to play in the third quarter, boosting the lead to 19-5.

The Tar Heels will next be in action next Saturday when they play host to the University of Detroit at 12 noon at Fetzer Field.


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