North Carolina vs. Notre Dame
March 10, 2007
The Game Story:
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The No. 15 North Carolina men's lacrosse team scored seven successive goals in the second and third quarters to erase an early lead by No. 14 Notre Dame as the Tar Heels ran past the Fighting Irish 11-8 before 1,544 fans at Fetzer Field Saturday afternoon. Junior defenseman Tim Kaiser and sophomore goalkeeper Grant Zimmerman led the Tar Heel defense and freshman attackman Gavin Petracca had his second successive five-point game for Coach John Haus' team.

The Heels improve to 5-1 on the season and have now surpassed their win total for the entire 2007 season when they finished 4-10. The Tar Heels have bounced back with a pair of home wins since a loss at Navy on March 2. The Fighting Irish suffered their second successive loss and dropped to 2-2 on the campaign. It was UNC's first win over Notre Dame since 2004.

Notre Dame led 5-3 at the end of the first quarter but the Heels outscored the Fighting Irish 4-0 in the second quarter and then scored the first three goals of the third quarter to take their biggest lead of the game at 10-5 with 6:40 left in the third period. The Fighting Irish outscored the Tar Heels the rest of the way 3-1 but the UNC defense repeatedly frustrated Notre Dame in the late stages, not allowing a goal in the final 9:05 of the match despite the fact the Irish had numerous offensive possessions.

UNC was led defensively by Tim Kaiser who had his second successive great game, claiming six ground balls and leading the Tar Heels in caused turnovers with three. Grant Zimmerman, who scored the first goal by a UNC goalkeeper since the 1992 season, left the game briefly in the first quarter but returned to finish with 10 saves and only five goals allowed in 56:41 of play.

Gavin Petracca had his second successive game with five points as he scored two goal and three assists. Three other Tar Heels had two goals each -- junior midfielder Nick Tintle, sophomore attackman Bart Wagner and sophomore attackman Michael Burns. Sophomore midfielder Ben Hunt had two assists for UNC.

Notre Dame was led by Ryan Hoff with two goals while six other Fighting Irish players scored one goal each. Will Yeatman finished with a goal and two assists.

UNC outshot the Fighting Irish 42-32 and had a decided edge in the key ground battle category, 40-30. The Fighting Irish had a 14-11 edge in saves and won 13 of 23 face-offs. Both teams cleared the ball well with UNC failing on only three of 32 clear attempts and Notre Dame on only two of 25.

Notre Dame jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead as Bart Wagner scored off an assist by Ben Hunt 1:45 into the game followed by a spectacular goal by Tar Heel goalkeeper Grant Zimmerman. Zimmerman cleared the ball on his own and then fired a shot by Notre Dame goalkeeper Joey Kemp from 10 yards out with 12:08 to play in the period. Zimmerman was injured on the play when he was checked while shooting and he had the leave the game for 3:19 while trainers attended to him on the sideline.

Notre Dame capitalized on the change as true freshman Chris Madalon had to enter the game without a warmup period and the Irish struck for three goals in a span of just 29 seconds. Michael Podgajny scored with 9:48 left in the first quarter, followed 16 seconds later on a goal by Brian Hubschmann and then another goal by Ryan Hoff at the 9:19 mark.

At that point Zimmerman returned to the game and the Tar Heels almost immediately responded with the tying goal as Gavin Petracca took a feed from Ben Hunt and scored to knot the game at 3-3 with 8:49 left in the quarter. The rest of the quarter belonged to Notre Dame as goals by Will Yeatman and Ryan Hoff put the Irish ahead 5-3. Although UNC outshot UND 14-11 in the first quarter, the Irish led 5-3 on the basis of seven saves from Joey Kemp while UNC's Zimmerman and Madalon combined for only one.

From then on the Heels' goalkeeping carried the day as Zimmerman made 10 saves and allowed only three goals in the final three quarters. Zimmerman held the Fighting Irish scoreless for a span of 26:27 from 1:01 left in the first quarter to 4:34 left in the third period.

The Heels began their comeback by outshooting the Irish 11-4 and outscoring them 4-0 in the second quarter. Nick Tintle started the seven-goal UNC scoring run with an unassisted goal with 9:22 left before intermission. Just 31 seconds later the Heels had the equalizer as Bobby McAuley drove right and scored on a jump shot past Kemp. It was the first of two straight goals on which Petracca recorded assists. Petracca fed Michael Burns with 6:53 left in the second quarter to put the Heels up for good in the game at 6-5. Tintle added his second goal of the period 21 seconds before halftime to put the Heels up 7-5 and Tintle went low to the left side of the goal to beat Kemp.

Carolina carried its momentum into the third quarter. Rob Driscoll drove hard on the right side of the box to score with 10:36 to play in the period on a hard shot from eight yards out. Then Burns popped open on the crease and took a pass from behind the goal by Petracca with 8:39 to go to make the score 9-5. After Notre Dame's Sean Dougherty went off for one minute for slashing, the Heels scored the only extra-man goal of the game for either team as Sean Delaney fed Bart Wagner for a 10-5 lead with 6:40 left in the third quarter.

The Heels' offense stalled at that point but the Tar Heel defense excelled late in the game despite a decided edge in time of possession for the Irish. Zimmerman made seven saves in the final two quarters and UNC forced four Notre Dame turnovers in the third quarter and another six in the fourth quarter. Carolina had trouble keeping control of the ball in the fourth quarter with more turnovers (seven) than shots (six).

But the Irish could not fully capitalize on UNC's turnover problems. Bill Liva scored for the Irish to make the score 10-6 at the end of the third quarter but that goal was matched by Gavin Petracca as he rolled the crease and tallied the 11th Tar Heel goal with 13:36 to play.

Notre Dame would score twice more with Peter Christman scoring into an open net after a failed clear with 11:11 to play and Ryan Cunn scoring off an assist by Alex Wharton with 9:05 to play.

At that point both defenses clamped down and neither team scored in the final nine minutes of the game.

The goal by Zimmerman was the first by a UNC goalkeeper since April 19, 1992 when Billy Daye scored against Villanova.

Carolina returns to action with two home games next week -- hosting Vermont Tuesday at 4 p.m. and playing No. 1-ranked an undefeated Duke next Saturday at 12 noon at Fetzer Field.