#1 UNC Uses Q2 Surge to Power Past Lehigh in NCAA Opener

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Top-ranked North Carolina overcame a slow start to race past 10th-ranked Lehigh 16-7 in the first round of the NCAA tournament Saturday afternoon at Fetzer Field. Eleven Tar Heels scored in the game as UNC rung up its largest margin of victory in an NCAA game since 1990, when current head coach Joe Breschi served as the senior captain for the Carolina team.

ACC champion North Carolina improved to 13-3 on the campaign, its most wins in a season since 2010, and advances to the NCAA quarterfinals for the third time in Breschi's five years as head coach. The Tar Heels will be making their first quarterfinal appearance in three years next Sunday in Indianapolis, Ind., at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Tar Heels will play the winner of tonight's NCAA first round game between Denver and Albany.

The Tar Heels finished the regular-season ranked #5 in both the USILA and Inside Lacrosse polls but entered the game as the #5 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

The Mountain Hawks led 2-1 after the first quarter but Carolina scored the opening five goals of the second quarter and never looked back. Carolina maintained at least a two-goal lead for the last 40:11 of the game. The Mountain Hawk stuck around until late in the third quarter but UNC outscored the Patriot League champions 7-1 over the last 15:56 of the match to capture the victory going away. Lehigh finished its outstanding 2013 season with a record of 12-5.

Marcus Holman led Carolina with a goal and four assists while sophomores Jimmy Bitter and Chad Tutton each had three goals and an assist for the Tar Heels. Freshman Steve Pontrello added a pair of goals as Carolina scored 16 goals against a Lehigh defense which came into the match allowing only 7.44 goals per game, tied for second in the nation. Other goal scorers for UNC were Greg McBride, Walker Chafee, R.G. Keenan, Davey Emala, Ryan Creighton, Spencer Parks and Patrick Kelly. Joey Sankey had a trio of assists for Carolina while Jake Matthai and Greg McBride also had helpers.

The five points for Holman increased his career school record in that category to 213. He has posted three or more assists in a game seven times this year in 16 games. Holman has 79 points this season, the second most in Carolina history. He needs two points to tie Bruce Ledwith school record of 81 in a season set in 1973. Holman also increased his season assist total to 43, the third most in a season in UNC history and four short of the school mark.

Holman also ran his consecutive game streak with at least one point to 31 games in a row. Jimmy Bitter now has scored goals in 10 straight games and has points in 26 games in a row. Joey Sankey's point streak improved to 20 games in a row and Chad Tutton has now scored at least one goal in 12 straight games and in 24 of the past 25 contests.

Both Jimmy Bitter and Chad Tutton recorded their eighth career hat tricks. Tutton has hat tricks in three straight games and four of the last five.

Lehigh was led in scoring by senior attackman David DiMaria who figured in five of its seven goals. DiMaria scored two and assisted on three. Patrick Corbett had two goals for the Mountain Hawks but the Tar Heel defense forced 15 turnovers and limited Lehigh to single digits in scoring for the first time in seven games.

The Tar Heels outshot the Mountain Hawks in every period, ending with a 53-30 edge. UNC also led in ground balls 38-25. Carolina continued its season-long trend of taking care of the ball, committing only nine turnovers while the Mountain Hawks had 15.

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