Sixth-Ranked Tar Heels Drop Heartbreaker to No. 13 Denver

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Led by Mark Matthews and Jeremy Noble, 2011 NCAA Tournament semifinalist Denver began another run for a Final Four bid, outlasting eighth-seeded North Carolina 16-14 Saturday night before 1,344 fans at Fetzer Field. The Pioneers improved to 9-6 on the season while the Tar Heels' season ends at 11-6.

After trailing by four goals early, the Tar Heels rallied to lead by two goals at the half but a 5-0 scoring run by Denver in the third and fourth quarters proved to the be difference as it was able to stave off one last gasp effort by UNC which almost produced a tying goal.

Denver was dominant in the face-off circle as the Pioneers produced 15 extra offensive possessions behind the work of Chase Carraro who went 22 of 30 and had a Fetzer Field facility record 17 ground balls in the game. He was backed by brilliant offensive performances by Mark Matthews who matched his careerhigh with five goals and by Jeremy Noble who had three goals and seven assists for a career high 10 points. We Berg has three ground balls and two assists for Denver.

Overshadowed was the play of UNC's Marcus Holman who matched his career high for goals in a game with six and also had two assists to lead Carolina with eight points, two short of his career high. Holman finished the year with 74 points, the third most in a single season for a Tar Heel and the most sinceDennis Goldstein had 75 points in 1991.

Jimmy Dunster and Chad Tutton each had apair of goals for UNC and Joey Sankey led the Tar Heels with three assists while Ryan Creighton had two.

The Pioneers led in virtually every statistical area, outshooting the Tar Heels 42-35, winning the ground balls37-35 and winning 23 of 31 face-offs. In a losing cause, UNC goalkeeper Steven Rastivo had one of his best efforts of the season making 15 saves. Ryan LaPlante had nine saves for Denver. Carolina scored on 40 percent of its shots, its second best shootingeffort of the season.

Denver outshot the Tar Heels 15-7 in thefirst quarter and took a 5-2 after the opening 15 minutes. A goal by Alex Demopoulos with 12:17 left in the half gave the Pioneers their biggest advantage of the first half at 6-2. Over the final 12:07 of the second quarter, UNC went on an 8-2 scoring run, getting their eight goals on nine shots in the period. Holman had four goals in the second quarter and his extra-man tally off an assist by Nicky Galasso with 1:22 left in the second quarter gave the Tar Heels their firstlead since it was 2-1.

Chad Tutton scored with three seconds left in the second quarter and Holman notched his sixth and final goal 13 seconds into the third quarter, giving the Tar Heels their biggest lead at 13-10. Denver answered with two goals before Greg McBride scored off an assist by Holman with 11:31 to play in the third period. That, however, would beCarolina's last goal for over 20 minutes. Denver went on a 5-0 run from 8:14 left in the third quarter to 7:17left in the fourth period with five different players scoring in the run. Noble had one of the goals and he assisted on the other four.

The Pioneers then had to survive a late game rally by UNC. Jimmy Dunster scored for the Tar Heels with 6:30 to play and Jimmy Bitter had a goal wiped out with 4:33 to play for a crease violation. That goal would have pulled the Tar Heels within a single goal.

Denver had the ball and was running out the clock before Eric Law turned the ball over with 1:32 to play. The Tar Heels got a goal on the other end by Chad Tutton with 48 seconds to play. Denver won the ensuing face-off but Mark Staines forced a turnover by Carraro and with 25 seconds to play his shot hit the left post, denying the Tar Heels the tying goal. Staines tracked down the ground ball and the Tar Heels called timeout with 20 seconds left for one last effort.

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