The No. 9 North Carolina men's lacrosse team (2-0) defeated Furman (0-2), 15-14, on Saturday in a wet and muddy battle that provided a major scare for the Tar Heel faithful.
Sophomore midfielder Tanner Cook opened up the scoring early at Kenan Memorial Stadium helping UNC get out to a 1-0 lead within the first three minutes. However, the Paladins were quick to strike back and scored the game’s next four goals.
After the Tar Heels faced a three goal deficit, shocked at home, they battled back. A few penalties at the end of the first period ignited a North Carolina run as Cook and junior attackman Timmy Kelly both scored in the last 45 seconds of the first period.
The momentum continued for UNC as the team scored the first six goals of the second period to build a monumental 9-4 lead with just under six minutes to go in the first half.
After a fairly even back and forth involving three North Carolina goals to two goals from Furman, the Paladins showed an incredible resolve down by six goals to score eight out of the games next nine goals to take a 14-13 lead with just over two minutes left.
But sophomore midfielder Justin Anderson assisted senior attackman Chris Cloutier with just one minute and 16 seconds left. The goal left the game tied at 14 at the end of regulation.
In the overtime period, Anderson provided the Tar Heels with the golden goal only 31 seconds after the period started. 15-14. North Carolina managed to stay perfect on the season.
“To be able to score that goal and be able to come together as a team was unbelievable,” Anderson said. “It was awesome.”
Notably, Cook and Cloutier each had five goals on the day, improving their season totals to eight and seven, respectively. Cloutier also extended his scoring streak to 22 games while junior attackman Andy Matthews extended his assist streak to 11 games.
In addition to the game-winning goal, Anderson had three assists for the Tar Heels.
The Tar Heels might have made the game too exciting for their taste, but they got the win and gained some valuable close game experience for a team that has just 11 seniors.
UNC will be back in action next Saturday at noon to take on the Lehigh Mountain Hawks at Kenan Memorial Stadium.
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