No. 5 North Carolina takes early lead to defeat 17th-ranked Towson 9-6
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Fifth-ranked North Carolina jumped out to an early lead and held on for a 9-6 victory against No. 17 Towson on Friday at Fetzer Field. Senior Kara Canizzaro led the Tar Heels with four goals, all four in the first 11 minutes of play. With her fourth goal, Cannizzaro reached the 100-goal plateau in her standout career at UNC.
Cannizzaro scored UNC's first three goals in less than four minutes to start the game. Messinger scored an unassisted goal at 25:50 for a 4-0 Carolina lead before LaMonica's first goal made it 4-1. Cannizzaro scored her fourth goal at the 19:04 mark for a 5-1 advantage, but the Tar Heels didn't score the rest of the first half while Custer and Maloof scored for the Tigers to make it 5-3 at halftime.
Carolina jumped out to a 5-1 lead, only to go scoreless for more than 19 minutes, which allowed Towson to catch up. The Tigers got as close as 6-5 in the second half before the Tar Heels replied with three consecutive goals to put the game out of reach late in the contest.
Towson pulled within 9-6 with 5:30 left with a goal against UNC backup goalkeeper Megan Ward but could get no closer. Senior Lauren Maksym made the start in the cage for UNC and picked up the victory by playing the entire first half.
With the win, Carolina improved to 1-1 this season and bounced back from its 5-3 loss to third-ranked Florida last weekend. Towson, playing its season opener, fell to 0-1.
Cannizzaro, who was held scoreless in the loss to Florida, scored her four goals on 11 shots, while also collecting three ground balls. Freshman Aly Messinger scored twice, the first two goals of her career. Jessica Griffin, Sammy Jo Tracy and Abbey Friend scored single goals for UNC.
Towson was led by Jackie LaMonica and Sarah Maloof, who each recorded two goals and one assist. Kelly Custer and Olivia Turner both also scored for the Tigers and Rhiannon Coogle dished out an assist.