Coming off an overtime victory against Duke on April 1, the No. 11 North Carolina men's lacrosse team looked to continue its undefeated start in ACC play in front of thousands of fans inside Kenan Stadium.
The Tar Heels defeated the No. 20 Cavaliers 16-8 behind an offensive outburst that put the game out of reach early on. With the win, North Carolina clinched a spot in the upcoming ACC Tournament.
The Tar Heels (7-4, 2-0 ACC) came out firing on offense. Redshirt junior Michael Tagliaferri sparked the team early, scoring a goal 29 seconds into the game.
Although UVa. (6-6, 0-3 ACC) tied the game at one a couple of minutes later, Steve Pontrello’s 31st goal of the season with just under 10 minutes left in the first period gave UNC a lead it wouldn't relinquish.
The usual suspects provided the early offense for the Tar Heels. Sophomore Chris Cloutier scored his 23rd goal on the year and junior Luke Goldstock added his 16th to give UNC a 4-1 lead to end the first period.
With the offense clicking, several players not known for their scoring contributed goals. Sophomore Brian Cannon scored two goals, one each in the second and third periods. Junior Tate Jozokos tallied his second goal of the year five minutes into the second period.
The offense slowed in the middle of the second period and into the third, going about 17 minutes without a goal. The scoring soon continued with late third-period goals from Tagliaferri and Cannon that extended UNC’s lead to 12-4.
The Tar Heels allowed four goals in the fourth period, as the Cavaliers tried to chip away at UNC's lead. But the offense maintained the eight-goal difference to the finish with four fourth-period goals of its own.
“We knew that if we came out here with six guys making the extra pass, flying around, playing fast that we were going to have success. Out here today, just playing loose and having fun, it worked out.” — Tagliaferri on the team’s offensive output.
UNC has now won its past five games at Kenan Stadium. The team’s last loss at Kenan Stadium came in 2009.
Three numbers that matter
28: Goldstock has now recorded a point in 28 consecutive games.
56: The Tar Heels tallied 56 shots, while the Cavaliers had 33.
10: Ten players scored goals for UNC, while six had two goals each.
The Tar Heels will travel to Syracuse, N.Y., to face the Syracuse Orange at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
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