No. 5 North Carolina Upends Top-Ranked Northwestern

Carolina will return to action next Saturday (March 2) at Penn.

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UNC goals – Abbey Friend 3, Kara Cannizzaro 2, Taylor George 2, Sammy Jo Tracy 2, Aly Messinger 1, Jessica Griffin 1

UNC assists —Emily Garrity 2, Tracy 2, Brittney Coppa 1

Northwestern goals – Alyssa Leonard 2, Haydyn Anigian 1, Erin Fitzgerald 1. Ali Cassera 1, Kelly Rich 1, Taylor Thornton 1, Amanda Macaluso 1

Northwestern assists —Jess Carroll 1

Shots: UNC 21, Northwestern 21

Ground balls: UNC 18, Northwestern 12

Draw controls: UNC 5, Northwestern 16

Free-position shots: UNC 2-2, Northwestern 0-4

UNC – Lauren Maksym (30:00 minutes, 4 goals, 2 saves), Megan Ward (30:00 minutes, 4 goals, 6 saves)
Northwestern – Bridget Bianco (60:00 minutes, 11 goals, 6 saves)

Fouls: UNC 31, Northwestern 22

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- An early-season match-up of national title hopefuls saw fifth-ranked North Carolina jump out to a 7-1 first-half lead and withstand No. 1 Northwestern's comeback efforts, as the Tar Heels notched an 11-8 victory at Fetzer Field in rainy Chapel Hill Friday night.

On the same day she was named to the Tewaaraton Award watch list, junior Alyssa Leonard led NU's scoring with two goals while also continuing her torrid start to the season in the draw circle, winning 12 draw controls to help Northwestern win 16 of 21 on the evening.

Northwestern, which had won four straight meetings with North Carolina and 10 in a row against ACC opponents dating to 2010, now leads the all-time series with UNC, 10-3. Including Friday's affair, the last four games in the series have been decided by a total of five goals.

"North Carolina played a great game today and really came out strong," said NU head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller. "I thought we fought back but it was a little too late. We made some bad decisions and weren't coming up with 50-50 balls in the first half, and those are the kinds of things that eat away at you when you play good teams."

After North Carolina opened the game's scoring on its first possession, Northwestern received a boost from sophomore defender Haydyn Anigian, who was making her first career start and first appearance of the season after missing the first two games to injury. Anigian gained possession in the midfield and raced across the restraining line, scoring on her first career shot attempt with less than two minutes gone by.

Northwestern turnovers at the offensive end allowed the Tar Heels to put together a 3-0 run over the ensuing six minutes, taking a 4-1 lead when UNC freshman Aly Messenger managed to score from her knees in front of the cage. Following a Northwestern yellow card, the Heels notched their fifth goal in a man-up scenario with 20:48 to go in the first half.

North Carolina made it five straight goals and took a 6-1 lead at the 19:31 mark, forcing a Northwestern timeout. Two more NU miscues led to UNC's seventh goal of the evening, this one courtesy of Kara Cannizzaro, before Erin Fitzgerald snapped its scoreless drought off a free-position shot at the midway point of the first half.

Leonard won the ensuing draw and senior Ali Cassera capitalized on a spinning dodge to the cage, scoring her fifth goal of the year to pull NU within four. Northwestern then cut it to 7-4 when it made the most of a man-up opportunity, with Kelly Rich wrapping the crease and beating UNC netminder Lauren Maksym with 8:52 left before halftime

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