Wood, Holman and McNeill combine for seven goals in 9-5 victory.

Wood, Holman and McNeill combine for seven goals in 9-5 victory.

Wood, Holman and McNeill combine for seven goals in 9-5 victory.

Wood, Holman and McNeill combine for seven goals in 9-5 victory.

PRINCETON, N.J. - The No. 15 North Carolina men's lacrosse team outscored No. 7 Princeton 9-2 over the last 46:03 of the match as the Tar Heels defeated the Tigers 9-5 at Class of 1952 Stadium before a crowd of 2,740 and an ESPNU national TV audience.

Thomas Wood, Marcus Holman and Mark McNeill combined for seven goals as the Tar Heels won their fourth straight and improved to 5-1 on the season. Princeton lost its home opener and is now 1-2 on the campaign.

The Tar Heels overcame a strong start by the Tigers, who ran off three goals in the opening 12:42 of the match before the UNC defense found its legs and dominated the match.

Wood, celebrating his 21st birthday, had a hat trick as well as an assist for UNC while Holman and McNeill scored two goals each. Those were the first goals for McNeill since the season opener against Robert Morris. Freshman Nicky Galasso added a goal and two assists for UNC while freshman midfielder Duncan Hutchins had a goal and an assist.

Forest Sonnenfeldt scored the first two goals of the game for Princeton and Tom Schreiber, Chris McBride and Tyler Moni added single goals for the Tigers. Schreiber also had two assists, both in the first quarter of the game.

UNC outshot the Tigers 39-26 and won the ground ball battle 20-16 and the face-off duel 9-6. R.G. Kennan, a freshman from Perry Hall, Md., won 9 of 15 draws and he led UNC with six ground balls.

UNC forced the Tigers into 11 turnovers and three failed clears. The extra-man game favored the Tar Heels as well as Princeton scored on only one of five chances and was shutout on their last four opportunities. UNC was 2-2 on the EMO.

Tyler Fiorito did his best to keep Princeton in the match, making 14 saves and allowing nine goals. A year ago when UNC beat the Tigers 12-11 in Chapel Hill, Fiorito had made only four saves. After allowing the first three shots on goal to sneak past him, UNC senior goalkeeper Chris Madalon made five saves over the last three quarters. He also scooped up three ground balls. The Tigers hurt themselves by placing only 10 of their 26 shots on cage as UNC's defense did a great job in not allowing point blank shots on a regular basis. Early on it was all Princeton as Sonnenfeldt scored the first two goals of the game. When Chris McBride scored a man-up goal for the Tigers off an assist by Tom Schreiber with 2:18 left in the quarter it was 3-0 Tigers.

But Carolina got right back into the game when Mark McNeill scored on an outside shot with 1:03 left in the first quarter, the first of seven straight goals by UNC. McNeill was also fouled after the play and UNC converted the man up with nine seconds left in the first quarter with Marcus Holman scoring off an assist by Duncan Hutchins.

The Heels then took control of the game in the second quarter to claim a lead they would never surrender. Nicky Galasso scored off an assist from behind the cage by Marcus Holman at 7:15 to tie the game and the Heels took the lead for good on a superb unassisted goal by Thomas Wood just 34 seconds later. Carolina then stretched the lead to 5-3 when McNeill won a tough ground ball battle and scored past Fiorito with 3:06 left in the half.

UNC's lead grew to 7-3 on back-to-back goals by Thomas Wood to start the third quarter. In each case Wood finished off assists by Galasso, whose assist total on the season grew to 11. Galasso is UNC's leading scorer with 22 points. Wood's third goal of the game made it 7-3 with 9:04 to play in the third quarter.

Princeton staged a min-rally as Schrieber scored on a left-handed shot at 6:32 and then Tyler Moni took a pass from behind from Cliff Larkin to make it 7-5 with 5:13 to play in the third quarter. The latter goal came on a quick restart and seemed to catch UNC's defense off guard, one of the few muscues the unit made all night.

The Tigers would get no closer, however. UNC began the fourth quarter on a man-up and it got the goal that gave it some separation with Duncan Hutchins bouncing one in from 12 yards off an assist by Wood less than a half minute into the final period. A little over two minutes later, UNC got an insurance goal by Marcus Holman as his high heat into the upper right corner made it 9-5 with 12:01 to play.

UNC's defense ended the match by holding Princeton scoreless for separate periods of 25 plus minutes and 20 plus minutes.

The five goals were the fewest UNC has allowed in 19 games since beating Lehigh 17-5 on February 20, 2010. It is the first time Carolina has won a game scoring in single digits since a 9-7 win over Maryland on March 27, 2010 at Fetzer Field.

Carolina has now won four in a row since suffering a stinging 13-8 loss at Ohio State on February 19. The win was the third in six days this week.

The Tar Heels will return to the field next Thursday when Carolina plays Duke at 7 p.m. at Fetzer Field. The game will be nationally televised on ESPNU. Tickets are on sale now at the Ticket Center on TarHeelBlue.com.

Post A Comment To This Story >

(no subject)
    by (#15285) on 3/13/11 @3:48AM
Why are the ACC teams always so unpredictable? Looks like that loss to OSU may have been a fluke.
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(no subject)
    by (#15285) on 3/13/11 @3:51AM
Also, where was Bitter?
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He's #4
    by (#253042) on 3/13/11 @11:53AM
He's #4.....

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