Before the season, no one quite knew what to expect offensively from the North Carolina men's lacrosse team.
Sure, they returned junior Luke Goldstock, who set a team record with 50 goals during the 2015 season. But seniors Joey Sankey, Jimmy Bitter and Chad Tutton all graduated, taking 104 of the team's 244 goals with them.
The Tar Heels took the first step toward answering those questions, though, with their 20-10 win against Michigan on Saturday in Chapel Hill. After dropping the opening faceoff and allowing a goal in the first ninety seconds of the game, UNC reeled off five straight goals in the next four minutes.
Michigan, in its fifth year of existence as a lacrosse program, fought back in the first half and at times was able to draw within two goals. But UNC proved to be too much. After entering halftime leading 10-6, the Tar Heels outscored the Wolverines 10-4 the rest of the way.
The team displayed its new look offensively. Ten different players scored for UNC, led by sophomore Chris Cloutier who amassed five goals in his first career start and his first game in the attack role after moving from the midfield. The Ontario native had only one goal all of last season in the two games he played. Senior Steve Pontrello also finished with four goals, while Goldstock finished with two goals.
They're a completely different group down there than what we've had, but you know that's the beauty of a new year. You get to see some different guys out there making plays, and they sure as heck made them today." — Coach Joe Breschi on the performance of his team's new-look offense.
The last and only other time UNC played Michigan, the Tar Heels won 19-5 in the final game of the 2012 regular season.
Three numbers that matter
4: The number of saves redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Brian Balkam had in the second half after having only one in the first.
10: The number of Tar Heels who scored for UNC. The Tar Heels are planning on deploying a more well-rounded offensive attack this season after relying on an impressive set of individual talents in 2015.
20: The number of faceoffs UNC won on Saturday, compared to 14 for Michigan. That number included a 10-16 second half advantage.
UNC will take on Furman next Saturday, Feb. 13th, at Fetzer field at 1 p.m.
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