No. 9 North Carolina Holds on to Edge No. 15 Fairfield

Carolina outshot Fairfield 39-28 and won the ground ball battle 42-34. Keenan won 13 of 22 face-off to lead the charge for UNC at the X. He also had a game-high 10 ground balls, just two short of his career high. Two UNC long poles, Kieran McDonald and Ryan Kilpatrick had career highs in ground balls with seven and five, respectively. Goalkeeper Jack Murphy led Fairfield with eight ground balls.

Turnovers played a big part in the game. Fairfield had 21 and UNC 15. The Tar Heel ride caused eight failed clears while UNC only failed twice on its clearing attempts. Jake Bailey, sophomore defenseman, led the way with five caused turnovers for UNC while sophomore rope Matt Shannon had two.

Murphy went the whole way in goal for the Stags, making 14 saves. Kieran Burke and Andrew O'Connell each played a half for UNC, with Burke making four saves and O'Connell three.

After the Tar Heel scored the opening goal, Fairfield struck twice with Sam Snow scoring with two seconds left in the first quarter to give the Stags a 2-1 lead at the quarter break.

Carolina got the first two goals of the second quarter courtesy of Emala and Holman. But the Stags ran off four goal in the final 5:57 of the period to take a 6-3 lead at the half. There were four different goal scorers in that stretch for Fairfield.

The Tar Heels will next be in action next Saturday when they travel to South Bend, Ind., to meet third-ranked Notre Dame at 12:00 p.m..

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No. 15 Fairfield dropped its first decision of the season, falling 10-9 to No. 9 North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C. Saturday afternoon. The loss drops the Stags to 2-1, while the Tar Heels improve to 2-1.

After a pair of Carolina goals in a 96 second span in the second quarter gave UNC a 3-2 lead, the Stags rolled off five consecutive goals through the remainder of the first-half and into the third quarter. Sam Snow, who netted scored his second of the game with 5:57 to play before the break to start the run and knot the score, 3-3. Marshall Johnson followed 18 seconds later with his first of the campaign and gave the Stags a 4-3 lead. Nick Guida struck with 3:01 to play before the break and Tristan Sperry scored with 96 ticks left in the half for a 6-3 break at the intermission.

Jordan Greenfield pushed the Fairfield lead to four, 7-3, with an unassisted tally 4:29 into the third quarter. Carolina struck back quickly, netting three goals in a 30-second span. Joey Sankey began the run at 9:18, putting a pass from Greg McBride. Marcus Holman, scored his first of three second-half goals at the 9:05 mark and Jimmy Bitter ended the run with an unassisted goal at the 8:48 mark.

Sperry finished the third quarter scoring for Fairfield with an unassisted goal to push the lead back to 8-6. Carolina strung together another three-goal run to start the final period. Chad Tutton scored at the 10:44 and Holman tied the score at the 9:27 mark, 8-8. Sankey put the Tar Heels ahead for the first time, 8:48, 9-8 with his second of the game. Guida tied the score again with man-up tally at the 6:51 mark, but 65 seconds later Holman netted the eventual game-winner.

Guida, Snow and Sperry all scored twice for the Stags, with Snow leading the way with three points. TJ Neubauer had a coal and an assist while Colin McLinden assisted on two Fairfield goals.

Jack Murphy stopped 14 shots in the game in net for the Stags, with 10 coming in the first-half. Andrew O'Connell took over in net for the Tar Heels at the break and stopped three shots, against three goals, to earn the win. Kieran Burke started in net and allowed six goals against four saves.

Michael Roe finished 9-22 at the face-off X for the Stags, going 5-10 in the first-half, and picked up five ground balls. Murphy had a team-best eight ground balls for the Stags.

Fairfield hosts Hofstra on Tuesday at Alumni Field. Game time is set for 4:00 p.m.

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