Chapel Hill, N.C. – A five-goal first period proved to be the difference, as No. 15 North Carolina downed Furman men's lacrosse, 14-10, on Saturday in Chapel Hill.
"I thought our team played really hard throughout most of the game," said head coach Richie Meade. "We had some lapses defensively that caused us to go behind, and that, coupled with faceoffs, was probably the biggest differences in the game. I think we grew a little bit today as a team."
Furman was led by Jarrett Birch with four goals and an assist on the day, while Chad Kreuzer added two goals. Four other Paladins added one goal each, while Cole Horan picked up a team-high nine groundballs. Alec Van de Bovenkamp played at 60:00 in goal for the Paladins and made a school-record 20 saves on the day.
Down 9-3 early in the third quarter, Furman used three-straight goals to cut the lead to 9-6, before the Tar Heels responded to push the lead to 14-6 early in the fourth. The Paladins responded again, using four-consecutive goals to cut the lead to 14-10, but could not get any closer.
The Tar Heels took a 2-0 lead in the game's first three minutes, before both teams were held scoreless for the next 8:15 of game time. Chad Kreuzer netted his first goal of the day on an assist from Jarrett Birch to cut the North Carolina lead to one at 2-1 with 3:16 to go in the first. The Tar Heels responded with back-to-back goals to push the lead to three at 4-1 with 1:40 left in the period, before Kreuzer netted his second goal of the day with just 48 seconds remaining in the period. North Carolina used a goal from Timmy Kelly with 00:06 to go in the period to take a 5-2 lead after the game's first 15 minutes.
The two teams were held scoreless for the first six minutes of the second, before the Tar Heels netted back-to-back goals to take a 7-2 lead with 7:30 to go before half. Austin Leonard turned in his first-career goal for the Paladins to cut the lead to 7-3 with 3:30 to go in the half. The Tar Heels again responded, however, pushing the lead to 8-3 at the half.
The Tar Heels opened the second-half scoring, taking a 9-3 lead with 10:39 to go in the period, before Jarrett Birch picked up his second goal of the season, cutting the lead to 9-4 with 7:52 remaining. Birch then netted his second goal of the day, third of the season, on an extra-man opportunity with 7:10 to go in the third. The Paladins then continued their run, using a goal by William Holcomb to cut the lead to 9-6 with just over 6:00 to go in the third. The Tar Heels ended the Paladin scoring run with back-to-back goals, taking an 11-6 lead after three periods.
North Carolina continued its own run, opening the fourth with three-straight goals to take a 14-6 lead and push the run to 5-0. Gus Pinsoneault ended the run and pulled the Paladins to within seven at 14-7 with 8:37 to go, before Birch netted his third goal of the day to cut the lead to six with 7:20 remaining. Jarrett Birch added to his career day with his fourth goal, cutting the Tar Heel lead to 14-9 with just under 6:00 remaining, before Carson Sorrells picked up his first goal of the day, cutting the lead to 14-10 with just over 3:00 to go. The Paladins could not capitalize on late extra man opportunities, however, falling to North Carolina, 14-10.
North Carolina was led by Alex Trippi with three goals on the day, while four other Tar Heels scored four goals each. Jack Pezzulla played all 60:00 in goal, allowing 10 goals and making 13 saves.
Furman hits the road again next weekend, traveling to Philadelphia, Pa., to take on Sacred Heart at Radnor High School.