Feb. 7, 2010

Courtesy of North Carolina

JACKSONVILLE, FLA. - North Carolina's fourth-ranked men's lacrosse team opened its 2010 season by posting a methodical 11-5 win over the host Jacksonville Dolphins at D.B. Milne Field. The game marked the first in the JU program's history as a varsity program as a crowd of 4,762 packed the stadium.

Not only was it Jacksonville's initial game, it also marked the earliest date in history for the Tar Heels to play a regular-season game since the program's inception in 1949. They outscored Jacksonville in every quarter but were never fully able to pull away until the second half when the Heels had a 6-2 goal advantage.

Sophomore attackman Thomas Wood led the Tar Heels with a career-high four points as he notched three goals and an assist. Senior midfielder Sean DeLaney and freshman attackman Marcus Holman each scored two goals for Carolina while sophomore defenseman Mark Staines and senior midfielder Cryder DiPietro each had a goal and an assist.

Ryan Serville had two goals and an assist to pace Jacksonville while Alex Everett had a goal and an assist.

Both teams' goalkeepers played the full 60 minutes as both made their first career starts. Junior Chris Madalon had five saves, all in the first half, and four ground balls, for UNC. Brad Hester had a brilliant debut for the Dolphins as he made 17 saves while allowing only 11 goals. He led the Dolphins with four ground balls.

UNC finished with a 42-22 shot edge while also winning the ground balls 43-31. UNC had a slight edge in face-offs 11-8. Carolina had a big advantage in the turnover area as it committed only 18 compared to 29 by JU.

Sophomore Charlie McComas led the ground ball effort for UNC with eight while junior attackman Billy Bitter had seven. Junior Michael Burns had five ground balls and he won 10 of 15 face-offs as he has now taken over as UNC's primary face-off option with the graduation of Shane Walterhoefer.

Junior defenseman Ryan Flanagan led Carolina with five of the team's 15 caused turnovers. Senior defenseman Michael Jarvis caused four.

UNC never trailed in the game but needed a 4-1 scoring run in the third quarter to pull away from the Dolphins in the second half.

Carolina scored first with 12:45 left in the first quarter as Billy Bitter tallied off an assist by sophomore midfielder Jimmy Dunster. The Dolphins tied the game on the first goal in school history at 8:27 while Serville taking an assist from Cameron Mann for the goal. A pair of freshmen from Baltimore's Gilman School then hooked up on the goal that would put the Tar Heels ahead for good at the 6:06 juncture of the period. Marcus Holman scored the goal after taking a feed from midfielder Greg McBride. Forty seconds later, Carolina went up 3-1 on an unassisted goal by Cryder DiPietro. The last goal of the period came when the Dolphins had a two-man advantage with Serville scoring his second goal of the quarter, assisted by Nick Scalzo, at the 1:49 mark.

The Tar Heels scored the first two goals of the second quarter to go up by three but Hester's six saves in the period denied UNC the chance to pull away any further. Thomas Wood scored the first of his three goals at the 12-minute mark off an assist by Mark Staines. Staines scored himself just 35 seconds later with an assist by junior midfielder Chris Hunt. Jacksonville had the last goal of the half, 7:43 before intermission as Everett tallied unassisted.

Carolina was able to get some separation in the third quarter by outscoring the Dolphins 4-1. Sean DeLaney and Michael Burns had unassisted goals just 36 seconds apart at 13:27 and 12:51 to make the score 7-3. JU then scored its second extra-man goal of the contest as T.J. Kearney scored off an assist by Serville just 41 seconds after Burns' goal. UNC got two quick goals to make it 9-4. Thomas Wood scored from Cryder DiPietro at 10:40 and Marcus Holman got his second goal, assisted by Thomas Wood, at 9:21.

Neither team scored for over 13 minutes before Jacksonville cut the lead to 9-5 on a goal by Max Gurowski with an assist by Everett at 10:48. UNC then put the game away with two goals in less than a minute midway through the period. Thomas Wood scored an unassisted goal at 8:45 and 56 seconds later Sean DeLaney followed up with UNC's only extra-man goal of the contest.

Carolina will have seven days off before hosting its home opener for 2010 against Bryant University on Saturday, February 13 at 12 noon at Fetzer Field.