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

Taking better care of the ball was a big key for the game in Carolina. UNC generated 33 shots on goal and committed only nine turnovers. When the Mountain Hawks came to Fetzer Field last year and beat Carolina 9-8 in the regular season the Heels had 19 turnovers in that game and only 16 shots on goal.

Another big factor in UNC's win was junior R.G. Keenan's play in the face-off circle as he won 15 of 22 face-offs and scooped up a game-high eight ground balls. Keenan won 10 of 13 draws in the first half, helping the Tar Heels keep a possession advantage until they started to solve Lehigh goalkeeper Matt Poillon who had nine first-half saves, including five in the first quarter as Lehigh started out with a 2-1 lead after the opening 15 minutes.

Poillon finished with 17 saves for Lehigh while Kieran Burke went the whole way for UNC, making eight saves. Both teams cleared the ball effectively with Lehigh going 16 for 18 and UNC finishing 13 of 14.

The game started slow for the Heels as Lehigh led 2-1 after the opening period. But the Tar Heel transition game began to click in the opening minutes of the second stanza and the game turned on that. UNC rang up five goals in a span of just 3:46 as UNC seized a 6-2 lead at 10:11 of the period. It was fast break and unsettled goals, which set the table for UNC in that run. Holman scored off an assist by McBride on a break at 13:57 to tie the game at 2-2. Ryan Creighton scored in transition from Tutton at 12:33 to give the Heels a lead they never relinquished.

Davey Emala then scored on a rebound and McBride scored from Sankey after a Tar Heel face-off win. With a flag down on the field for a delayed penalty against the Mountain Hawks, Spencer Parks finished off an assist by Jimmy Bitter and UNC was up 6-2 with 10:11 left before halftime. The Mountain Hawks answered with a pair of goals but Walker Chafee scored an extra-man goal with 1:29 left in the half to put the Heels up by three at the break.

The Mountain Hawks scored an extra-man goal nine seconds into the second half but Carolina again answered the call. Steve Pontrello lasered one past Poillon a little over a minute later to restore a three-goal lead and then the Tar Heels got a key goal at 6:56 as Carolina won a battle for a ground ball near midfield and with everyone in scramble mode, Sankey fed Tutton for a brilliant goal. Lehigh got one back but Carolina regained momentum with Bitter's second tally of the game off an assist by Sankey with 56 seconds left before the end of the period.

The fourth quarter was all Carolina. Keenan set the table with a face-off win and a goal five seconds into the period. It was the fifth goal of the season and his third in the past two games. Pontrello matched his career high for goals in a game at 9:53, assisted by fellow freshman Jake Matthai. Lehigh cut the UNC lead back to five goal on a fast break tally by Klay Heston at 8:42 but the Heels responded with a man up goal by Tutton, a timer-on goal by Bitter and goals by Patrick Kelly and Tutton, all in the last 5:23 to win handily. The nine-goal margin of victory was the most by UNC in an NCAA Tournament game since it beat Harvard 18-3 in the quarterfinals on May 20, 2013.

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - No. 10 Lehigh led 2-1 after a quarter, but #1 ranked and #5 seed UNC used a 5-0 surge in the second to take a lead that it wouldn't relinquish as the Mountain Hawks fell 16-7 on Saturday afternoon in the NCAA Tournament.

Sophomore Matt Poillon was stellar between the pipes with a career-high 17 saves while senior David DiMaria ended a strong career with two goals and three assists. The loss snapped the Mountain Hawks' seven-game winning streak as they end their second straight Patriot League Championship campaign with a 12-5 record.

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2013-05-11



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