No. 1 Tar Heels Run by No. 12 Notre Dame to Improve to 5-0

CHAPEL HILL Defending national champion North Carolina got hat tricks from four players and won its 2014 Atlantic Coast Conference opener, 19-9, over new member Notre Dame on a chilly Fetzer Field on Thursday night. Freshman Carly Reed led the Tar Heels with a season-high five goals and one assist.

UNC improves to 5-0 overall and 1-0 in the ACC with the victory. The Tar Heels have won nine games in a row dating back to last season. Notre Dame falls to 2-2, 0-2 in conference play.

Twelve of Carolina's 19 goals came from freshmen like Reed. Classmates Sydney Holman had three goals and two assists, Maggie Bill had two goals and one assist and Molly Hendrick had two goals in addition to Reed's five.

Senior Abbey Friend (three goals and two assists) and sophomore Aly Messinger (three goals and two assists) also had key performances in the victory. Senior Taylor George also added a goal, as did senior Sloane Serpe, who had an assist in the first half for her first career point in her 66th career game.

Friend, Messinger and Serpe all were named to the watch list for the Tewaaraton Award on Thursday evening as well.

Notre Dame got two goals from Hannah Harman and Cortney Fortunato, the freshman sensation who was hounded by UNC defenders Serpe and Margaret Corzel all night and scored her two goals on seven shots while committing two turnovers. Kirea McMullan, Heidi Annaheim, Brie Custis, Casey Pearsall and Molly Shawhan each scored once for the Fighting Irish.

Carolina will return to action on Sunday March 1 at 1:00 p.m. against Penn at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill.

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. For a 26-minute stretch, the No. 12 Notre Dame lacrosse team stood toe-to-toe with No. 1 North Carolina, matching the defending national champions on the scoreboard 7-7. Unfortunately for the Irish (2-2, 0-2 ACC), the Tar Heels (5-0, 1-0) dominated the opening and closing stretches of the contest to record a 19-9 win at Fetzer Field on Thursday night.

Amongst the highlights on the Irish side of the box score, Barbara Sullivan controlled seven draws against one of the country's top draw control teams. Margaret Smith caused four turnovers defensively, got four ground balls and controlled a pair of draws. Brie Custis scored once, had four ground balls, two draw controls and two caused turnovers. Hannah Hartman and Cortney Fortunato each scored a pair of goals to lead Notre Dame's scoring. Heidi Annaheim and Kiera McMullan each had a goal and an assist for the Irish in the game. Notre Dame's nine goals are the most that UNC has allowed this year.

However, four different UNC players netted at least a hat trick on the night, led by Carly Reed's five goals. Ultimately, 19 turnovers proved costly for Notre Dame as did the transition opportunities the turnovers created. The Irish were just 9 for 16 in clears while UNC was 15 for 17 and the end result was a 10 goal loss, matching the largest margin of defeat for Notre Dame since a 19-7 loss to No. 2 Northwestern in the 2010 NCAA Tournament.

"Out of the gates, both teams seemed shaky but Carolina got on the board first and gained momentum," Notre Dame head coach Christine Halfpenny said. "At the end of the game, we had some things that we can build on. Our youth continues to impress us. Our strong players on the draw in Barbara Sullivan and on defense in Margaret Smith get us excited about what we're going to see this season.

"However, they have to learn a tough lesson regarding turnovers. It's difficult to win games with 19 turnovers. We can't panic. We have to learn to play with poise, confidence and to quickly overcome the small mistakes so they don't lead to big ones."

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