Current Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2014 22:31:38 -0400
After the No. 3 North Carolina men’s lacrosse team handily defeated Manhattan 21-5 Sunday, team members congregated on the field.
Most players posed for pictures with friends, family and classmates. Others packed up their gear and walked to the locker room.
Chad Tutton knelt on the turf and greeted two small UNC fans who presented lacrosse sticks and Sharpie markers.
Tutton, a junior midfielder, deserved the recognition from his young admirers. He contributed three goals in the win, marking his ninth career hat trick.
“I just kind of play,” he said. “If I get a bunch of goals, then it’s good. If not, then I’m sure someone else will be picking up the slack and getting goals out there, so I’m just not worried about it at all.”
Most of the time, it’s Tutton who picks up the slack and produces for the Tar Heels. He has scored at least one goal in each of UNC’s last 15 games and only has five goalless games on his UNC record.
Other times, it’s Joey Sankey, a junior attackman who joined Tutton and freshman midfielder Shane Simpson at the top of the scoring list Sunday. Sankey recorded his 10th UNC hat trick. Simpson recorded his first.
Like Tutton, Sankey is poised to score in most of UNC’s matches. Last season, he scored in all but two games and Sunday, Sankey didn’t miss a beat, scoring two of his goals in the first quarter.
One goal came off of a groundball that sent the 5-foot-5 attackman to the ground and the ball to the net.
“The ball’s rolling on the ground and we have a defenseman on our team, Jake Bailey, and he picks up ground balls and kind of does this spin,” Sankey later said of his scoring technique. “I kind of tried to emulate him a little bit. He’s 6-foot-6, though, so it’s a little different. The goalie got a piece of it, but it kind of trickled in.”
Though the goal was unassisted, Sankey did get help from playing on a familiar field.
“We have an advantage, this being our practice field, so you kind of know where you relatively to the numbers and the hash marks and stuff,” Sankey said. “I had a good idea where the cage was. I didn’t see it, but I just tried putting (the ball) on cage somewhere.”
Sankey will likely have other impressive goals as the season continues, and that’s what coach Joe Breschi expects. Breschi said UNC will have to rely on Tutton and Sankey to succeed but that he’s still comfortable with the team’s depth.
“We just play a lot of people, and there’s just not a drop off,” Breschi said.
“We feel pretty confident that the next guy can go in and not try to do too much and play within the scheme and still create the same amount of offense.”