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North Carolina Athletics | February 8, 2014

North Carolina opens with win

North Carolina's Abbey Friend

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Top-ranked and defending NCAA champion North Carolina opened its national title defense with a dominating 20-8 win against fourth-ranked Florida on Saturday at Fetzer Field in the season opener for both teams. Sydney Holman and Abbey Friend each tallied five goals and two assists to lead the Tar Heels.

The Tar Heels are 4-1 all time against the Gators.

Carolina also got three goals apiece from Taylor George and Aly Messinger and a goal and an assist from Maggie Bill. Molly Hendrick and Carly Reed each scored once, as did Lindsay Scott. Sam McGee and Morgan Rubin each had assists for Carolina.

Florida was led by Shannon Gilroy, who had four goals and an assist. Sammi Burgess had one goal and two asissts for the Gators, while Sam Darcangelo, Mollie Stevens and Darcy Messina each scored single goals.

Megan Ward went the distance in goal for North Carolina, recording nine saves. Cara Canington started and made 13 saves while allowing 12 goals in the cage for Florida. Mary-Sean Wilcox played the final 13:24, making two saves and allowing eight goals.

UNC outshot Florida, 41-24, and gathered 24 ground balls to UF's 12.  The Tar Heels controlled 18 draws to the Gators' 11.

The Tar Heels jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the opening eight minutes and led 6-2 at halftime. They then scored four of the first five goals after halftime to go up by seven goals at 10-3. The Gators never got closer than a six-goal margin the rest of the way.