No. 6 UNC Downs No. 17 Penn State in Opener

KENNESAW, Ga.; February 11, 2012 No. 17 Penn State fell to No. 6 North Carolina, 14-10, at KSU Soccer Stadium in Kennesaw, Ga., Saturday afternoon. Penn State dropped to 0-1 with the season-opening loss, while the Tar Heels opened the season 1-0.

Senior Matthew Mackrides (Newtown Square) and juniors Nick Dolik (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) and Kyle VanThof (Penfield, N.Y.) tallied a pair of goals each, while senior Jack Forster (Jenkintown) led the squad with three helpers. Senior Ryan Link (Englewood, Colo.) matched a game high with five ground balls. Sophomore Austin Kaut (Morton) made 15 saves while North Carolina goalkeeper Steven Rastivo stopped 18 Penn State attempts.

The Tar Heels controlled the ground ball and faceoff battles, 40-28, and, 21-9, respectively. Penn State converted on 3 of 6 extra-man opportunities while North Carolina went 1 for 2.

North Carolina, which took a 2-1 first-quarter lead, opened the scoring with Mark McNeill's goal at 2:33. Following a pushing penalty on the Tar Heels' Logan Corey, freshman Pat Manley (Arnold, Md.) tallied his first collegiate goal at 4:45 of the period. Sophomore Shane Sturgis (Downingtown) collected an assist on the play.

The Tar Heels outscored Penn State, 6-4, in the second quarter en route to the 8-5 halftime advantage. North Carolina potted the frame's first three goals in a 5:37 span before Link's marker cut the lead to 5-2. Following the Tar Heel's third straight goal, Link controlled the ensuing faceoff and scored with 9:15 left in the half.

Marcus Holman tallied his second goal of the half with 4:35 remaining to recapture the Tar Heels' four-goal lead. Kaut then stopped North Carolina's next two attempts before Dolik responded for Penn State with 3:08 left in the half to make it a 6-3 contest.

The Tar Heels tallied twice more in a 15-second span to take an 8-3 lead, but Penn State responded with the final two goals of the stanza. Sturgis tallied his first goal of the season on the next possession, and Mackrides made it an 8-5 game with a man-up goal with 19 seconds remaining with Forster registering an assist on the goal.

The beginning of the third quarter mirrored that of the second with North Carolina scoring the first three markers, including one man-up tally, in the first 4:47. Dolik then netted his second of the game with 8:28 remaining before LaCrosse tallied less than two minutes later to make it an 11-7 game.

In the first possession of the final frame, VanThof brought Penn State to within three, 11-8, just 25 seconds into the period. North Carolina answered twice in 34-second span before VanThof tallied a man-up goal for his second of the period with 8:36 left. The Tar Heels responded with 3:20 left before Mackrides' goal from Forster with 31 seconds remaining in the game accounted for the 14-10 final.

The Nittany Lions will return to action Sat., Feb. 18 when they host Michigan at 1:00 p.m.

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