Having lost nine seniors to graduation — including three of its top four scorers — questions regarding the North Carolina men's lacrosse team's youth surrounded the Tar Heels entering this season.
But despite winning its first two games handily, UNC's inexperience showed in Saturday's 10-5 loss to Hofstra at Fetzer Field.
Junior Stephen Kelly won the opening faceoff, but he and the Tar Heels (2-1) didn't strike first. After UNC turned the ball over on its opening possession, Hofstra's Josh Byrne opened the scoring on an unassisted backhand goal.
The Tar Heels answered with a goal by sophomore attackman Chris Cloutier, but the Pride (1-0) scored back-to-back goals to take a 3-1 lead at the end of the first period.
The start of the second quarter was like a football game in the mud — a little dirty and people getting hit left and right. With about seven minutes left in the period, Dylan Alderman made the score 4-1 with a left-handed shot to the top right corner of the goal.
The Tar Heels tried to get back on track going into halftime with an unassisted goal by Luke Goldstock. But the Pride's offensive pressure resulted in a goal 46 seconds later, giving Hofstra a 5-2 lead at the break.
The pressure didn’t stop either. Hofstra stormed out of the gate in the third quarter, scoring four unanswered goals. The Tar Heels were forced to call a timeout after Hofstra scored its fourth goal of the period, putting the Pride ahead 9-2
The lead was Hofstra's biggest of the game, and one UNC couldn't overcome.
“We found out a little bit of our youth today, but hat goes off to Hofstra. They have a veteran team. I like how we finished the game. We played hard. We just couldn’t finish our opportunities.” — Coach Joe Breschi on his team's performance.
Hofstra’s Tommy Voelkel, a redshirt sophomore from Chapel Hill, is the son of Brent Voelkel — who played on two national championship teams at UNC in 1981 and 1982.
Three numbers that matter
8: The Pride outshot the Tar Heels by eight in the first period. Hofstra racked up 13 shots in the quarter compared to UNC's five.
5: Hofstra's Sam Llinares tied UNC’s goal total for the game, scoring five in the Pride’s win.
5: The Tar Heels' five-point margin of defeat was their worst at home since falling to Virginia 15-10 at Fetzer Field during the 2012 season.
UNC will face Johns Hopkins at noon on Sunday in Baltimore.
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