No. 5 North Carolina Upends Top-Ranked Northwestern

Goalkeeper Bridget Bianco found a rhythm late in the half, recording three rapid-fire saves in succession and then notching a fourth point-blank stop to keep the Heels from adding to their lead. UNC brought a 7-4 lead into halftime, overcoming a 9-3 NU edge in draw controls thanks in part to nine Wildcats turnovers.

North Carolina restored a five-goal lead by scoring the first two goals out of the locker room, but the Wildcats remained calm and quickly put together a 3-0 run. Taylor Thornton tallied an unassisted goal, then the Wildcats turned defense into offense when a Haydyn Anigian caused turnover led to Jess Carroll finding Leonard open on the UNC crease for the score, just 29 seconds after Thornton's tally.

Senior Amanda Macaluso buried a left-handed shot only minutes later to pull NU within two, 9-7, but Abbey Friend answered for the Heels with a goal at the 15:09 mark. Leonard responded quickly by scoring in transition once again to get the 'Cats within two, 10-8, before the Heels began taking precious time off the clock.

Northwestern (2-1) had several good looks on cage in the final five minutes, but UNC freshman Megan Ward -- who entered the game at halftime for the Tar Heels -- kept the Wildcats at bay with six saves in 30 minutes.

Both teams fired 21 shots in the game, while Northwestern eventually finished with only one more turnover than UNC (14-13).

Northwestern's weekend road trip continues with a visit to Nashville, Tenn., where the Wildcats will open American Lacrosse Conference play against host Vanderbilt. Opening draw at the Vanderbilt Lacrosse Complex is set for 1:00 p.m. CT.

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