CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Sophomore Luke Goldstock scored a career-high six goals to lead a second-half charge as second-ranked North Carolina rallied past Bryant 10-9 in men’s lacrosse action Tuesday afternoon at Fetzer Field. Carolina rallied from 6-2 and 9-8 second-half deficits to remain unbeaten on the season.
Goldstock, who had five goals and four assists last Saturday in Carolina’s 26-6 win against Manhattan, followed that up with a six-goal game against the Bulldogs, who reached the NCAA tournament quarterfinals last year but had started this season slowly, coming to Chapel Hill with a 1-4 record.
Bryant certainly did not look like a 1-4 team in the first half as it dominated the opening 30 minutes, taking a 6-2 lead into intermission. But UNC rallied twice in the second half to claim the victory and improve to 7-0 on the season.
Bryant’s All-America goalkeeper Gunnar Waldt and NCAA record-setting face-off man Kevin Massa gave the Tar Heels fits all day. Waldt made 12 saves in the first half while allowing only two goals. After halftime, however, the Tar Heels were able to get to Waldt, scoring eight second-half goals against him while he made three saves in the final half. UNC junior Kieran Burke came on in the goal in the second half for the Tar Heels and he was huge, making six saves after intermission, including three in the last five minutes of the game to preserve the win for Carolina after the Tar Heels had taken a 10-9 lead with 5:34 to play.
Besides Goldstock’s performance, Jimmy Bitter had two goals and an assist for UNC and Joey Sankey had a goal and two assists. Duncan Hutchins had a pair of helpers for the Heels. Shane Morrell led Bryant with two goals and an assist while Tucker James had a pair of goals and Tim Kennedy had a goal and two assists.
UNC outshot the Bulldogs 42-38 in the game and led in ground balls 41-33. Waldt finished the game with 15 saves for the Bulldogs. UNC platooned goalkeepers as it has all year. Brian Balkam played the first half and made two saves and Kieran Burke played the second half and had six saves while allowing only three goals.
Kevin Massa led the Bulldogs in the face-off circle as he won 15 of 23 face-offs and he had nine ground balls. North Carolina senior defenseman Jake Bailey led the Tar Heels with a career high 10 ground balls. That total was double Bailey’s previous career high of five versus Duke on March 15, 2014 and versus Virginia on April 26, 2014.
A key in the game that helped the Tar Heels rally to victory was the turnover differential. Bryant turned the ball over 19 times, including 11 unforced errors, while UNC committed only 10 turnovers. The Tar Heels were also a perfect 22-for-22 in the clearing game and did not commit a foul despite coming into the game leading the nation in penalties.