No. 1 Tar Heels Improve to 6-0 with Victory over No. 17 Penn

CHAPEL HILL Top-ranked North Carolina outscored Penn 7-2 in the second half to break open a tie game and defeat the 17th-ranked Quakers, 13-8, on a sunny Sunday afternoon at Fetzer Field. UNC improves to 6-0 this season with the victory, its 10th in a row dating to last year's NCAA championship run. Penn falls to 1-1.

The Tar Heels' 10-game winning streak is the fourth-longest in program history. The 2002 squad won a school-record 12 contests in a row, and the 1997 and 2013 squads put together 11 straight wins each.

The Tar Heels were led by senior Abbey Friend, who had three goals and two assists, and freshman Maggie Bill, who scored a season-high four goals. Taylor George had three goals and an assist and Sam McGee dished out two assists. Aly Messinger, Molly Hendrick and Carly Reed each scored one goal for the Tar Heels. Sydney Holman had an assist.

The Quakers got three goals from Tory Bensen and two from Lely DeSimone. Iris Williamson had a goal and an assist.

Penn had a solid gameplan and played well defensively against the powerful Tar Heel offense, holding Carolina to 13 goals (more than seven below UNC's season average of 20.6 per game).

Penn won 24 ground balls to UNC's 18 in the game, but the Tar Heels dominated the draw by a 16-7 margin.

Sophomore Megan Ward started in goal for the Tar Heels and played the first half, allowing six goals and making two saves. Freshman Caylee Waters came off the bench and played the second half in the cage in UNC's normal goalie rotation. Waters made five saves and allowed just two goals to pick up her first career win in goal.

The Quakers scored first and took a 1-0 lead less than 90 seconds into the game, handing the Tar Heels their first deficit of the season. Carolina built a 5-3 first-half lead before allowing three consecutive Penn goals for a 6-5 Quaker advantage. Bill scored just before halftime to tie the game with 2:47 until the break, then scored again just 35 seconds into the second half.

Penn tied the score at 7-all at the 19:42 mark on a goal by O'Loughlin, but UNC close the game on a 6-1 run to ice the victory.

Carolina will return to action on Saturday March 8 at 1:00 p.m. at Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. The Tar Heels' next home game will be on Wednesday March 12 at 7:00 p.m. against Elon at Fetzer Field.

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CHAPEL HILL No. 17 Penn ventured to Tobacco Road for its biggest test of the early season and went toe-to-toe with the defending national champs for a large portion of the game before No. 1 North Carolina pulled away in the final five minutes and the Quakers were defeated, 13-8.

Penn (1-1), led four different times in the first half against the Tar Heels (6-0), and played the reigning champions even through the opening stages of the second half before a 6-1 North Carolina run to close the game staved off any chance to knock off the nation's top team. The Quakers would not go quietly, scoring on a Lely DeSimone goal with 6:23 remaining to close within two goals, 10-8. That ultimately would be as close as Penn would get, a two-goal spurt from North Carolina in a span of 20 seconds closing the door for good.

Five different players scored for the Quakers, led by senior Tory Bensen who had three to give her eight goals in two games to star 2014. DeSimone scored twice her second consecutive game with two goals while Iris Williamson, Lindsey O'Loughlin and Courtney Tomchik each had one goal.

In the first half, it was timely offense and staunch defense from the Quakers which gave the Red and Blue an even stake in the game. Tomchik struck first for the Quakers, opening the game's scoring 1:26 in with a free position goal. That goal put North Carolina in an unfamiliar position trailing in a game. Dating back to the NCAA Championship Game last May, the Tar Heels had not trailed in a game since Maryland had held an 11-10 lead. Including UNC's first five games of 2014 in which the Tar Heels never trailed it had been 364:10 of game play since Carolina had to play from behind. After the Tar Heels tied the game four minutes later, Bensen connected on her first of the game off a behind-goal feed from Nina Corcoran at the 7:58 mark. Just before the midway point of the half, DeSimone deposited her first of the game to give the Red and Blue a 3-2 lead.

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2014-03-02



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