No. 1 Maryland Handed First Defeat by No. 7 North Carolina

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Seventh-ranked North Carolina's efficient offense, combined with an outstanding defensive effort, led the Tar Heels to an 11-8 victory over top-ranked Maryland in men's lacrosse action Saturday afternoon at Kenan Stadium before a crowd of 6,135.

This marked the second straight year UNC has knocked the Terps when they were the No. 1 team in the nation. A year ago, Carolina beat the Terps at Byrd Stadium 10-8 on March 23, 2013. It also marked the third successive year Carolina has beaten a #1 team (it also beat Johns Hopkins in 2012) after having not knocked one off since 1996.

North Carolina ran its offense well, scoring 11 times on 31 shots and committing only 10 turnovers. UNC also benefitted from a perfect 16 for 16 in the clearing game and the Tar Heels scored twice on three EMO chances.

Both teams exhibited balanced offensive attacks. Pat Foster and Joey Sankey each had two goals and two assists for UNC and Shane Simpson had two goals and a helper. Chad Tutton, Jimmy Bitter, Spencer Parks, Jake Bailey and Walker Chafee also scored for UNC. An extra-man goal by Chafee with 3:40 to play in the second quarter put Carolina ahead for good at 5-4. Maryland crept within one goal three times in the second half but could never get an equalizer.

Connor Cannizzaro led the Terps with two goals an assist while Colin Heacock scored twice for Maryland. Mike Chanenchuk had a goal and an assist for the Terps.

Maryland's Charlie Raffa dominated the face-off circle for the Terps, winning 16 of 23 draws and that helped Maryland seize a 35-26 edge in ground balls. But UNC's defense was a key factor in Maryland committing 16 turnovers, 10 of them forced, and the Terps hurt themselves with an 0 for 4 performance on the extra-man. The Terps had come into the game at 50 percent on the extra-man for the season but Carolina's man-down unit play proved to be a key to the game.

Maryland fell to 7-1 overall with the loss and the Terps are 2-1 in the ACC heading into a home game against Virginia in eight days. Carolina improved to 7-2 overall and 1-2 in the ACC and will next be in action at Johns Hopkins next Saturday.

Maryland's offense had scored in double figures in every game this season and came into the game averaging 13.14 goals per game. Carolina goalkeeper Kieran Burke continued his outstanding play of the last two weeks as he made 12 saves and had three ground balls. Niko Amato went the whole way for Maryland in the cage, making eight saves.

Joey Sankey, Austin Pifani and Mark McNeill each had two caused turnovers for UNC while Pat Foster and Zach Powers each had four ground balls. Both players had career highs for ground balls. McNeill added three ground balls to the UNC total. Raffa led the Terrapins with eight ground balls while Amato had six and defenseman Michael Ehrhardt five.

Carolina opened the scoring when Joey Sankey scored in transition off a Pat Foster assist a little less than two minutes into the game. Maryland answered quickly with goals by Heacock and Cannizzaro before Foster and Tutton struck for back-to-back unassisted tallies to put the Heels up 3-2 at the end of the first quarter.

Sankey's goal ran his consecutive game streak with at least one point to 30 in a row and he has now scored goals in 27 of the past 30 matches. Tutton has scored at least one goal in 20 of the past 21 games and 33 of the past 35 contests.

Neither team found the back of the net in the opening half of the second quarter but Maryland put together back to back goals by Cannizzaro and Ehrhardt 12 seconds apart to seize a 4-3 lead with 7:12 left before intermission. That would be Maryland's last lead of the game.

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2014-03-22



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