Carolina improves to 4-0 with win at Hopkins

UNC's sophomore Tanner Cook scored four goals in UNC's 13-11 win.
BALTIMORE, MD. (courtesy - The 12th-ranked University of North Carolina men's lacrosse team never led until midway through the fourth quarter but three successive goals by junior attackman Timmy Kelly gave the Tar Heels the lead for good in an eventual 13-11 victory over 13th-ranked Johns Hopkins before 1,383 fans and an ESPNU national television audience at Homewood Field.

With the win, the Tar Heels start the season 4-0 for the first time since 2015 and Coach Joe Breschi's team has already won a two-goal game and a pair of overtime games, playing well in tight games in the young 2018 campaign. Johns Hopkins fell to 1-2 on the season. UNC has now won its last five games against the Blue Jays at Homewood Field and cut the Blue Jays' all-time lead in the series to 25-22.

Kelly notched a career-high four goals in the game, including three straight in the fourth quarter that broke a 9-9 tie and lifted the Heels to a three-goal lead. Sophomore midfielder Tanner Cook matched his career high for points in a game with five as he scored four goals, all in the first half, and added an assist. Chris Cloutier added two goals, running his goal scoring streak to 24 successive contests. Both Andy Matthews and William Perry had a goal and two assists. Matthews has now recorded assists in 13 consecutive games.

Cole Williams led the scoring for Hopkins with a hat trick. Shack Stanwick had two goals and an assist for the Blue Jays and six other Blue Jays had single goals. Kyle Marr led Hopkins in assists with two.

Tar Heel sophomore goalkeeper Jack Pezzulla stood on his head for stretches during the night, making a career high 13 saves. Hopkins led 5-3 at the end of the first period but Pezzulla made five saves in the opening 15 minutes and prevented the early deficit from growing greater. Hopkins placed 10 of its 11 shots in the first quarter on goal and had leads of 2-0, 3-1 and 5-3 in the quarter.

Hopkins led in most statistical categories except saves where Brock Turnbaugh had nine for the Blue Jays. Hopkins led in shots 39-37 and in ground balls 29-20. This marked the second straight game in which the Tar Heels have earned just 20 ground balls (Lehigh had 30 to UNC's 20 last Saturday), but in both cases UNC has pulled out tight victories.

Hopkins face-off man Hunter Moreland was outstanding as he won 18 of 27 draws at the X and had a game-high 10 ground balls. Four of his nine losses at the X were due to face-off violations.

Both teams committed 13 turnovers and both teams were excellent in the clearing game with just one failed clear each. UNC's extra-man offense, which has been a highlight of its early-season play, was three of four while Hopkins scored twice on four chances.

Hopkins opened the game with a pair of goals in the first 1:15 of play before Tanner Cook got the Tar Heels on the board with 3:10 elapsed. After the Blue Jays again went up by two goals, tallies by Cook and Chris Cloutier tied the game at 3-3 with 5:41 left in the period. Hopkins, however, regained the momentum with unassisted goals at 1:05 and 0:14 of the period and led 5-3 at the first break.

Cook scored back-to-back goals at 13:52 and 5:28 of the second period and the Heels were back in a tie at 5-5. Cole Williams put the Blue Jays back ahead 4:53 before halftime but he was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct for tossing his stick in the air in celebration and Carolina capitalized with Kelly's first goal, an extra-man tally off an assist by Andy Matthews just 27 seconds later.

Coming out of halftime, Hopkins seized the momentum. A pair of unassisted goals gave the Blue Jays an 8-6 lead 3:55 into the second half. Carolina bounced back and goals by Cloutier at 5:42 and by William Perry in a man-up situation with 2:27 left saw the game tied at 8-8 heading into the final period.

Patrick Fraser regained the lead for Johns Hopkins with 12:39 left in the game with an EMO goal but momentum shifted to Carolina about three minutes later. An unassisted goal by Andy Matthews tied the game at 9-9 with 9:46 to play and started a four-goal run for the Tar Heels. At 8:11, Kelly gave UNC its first lead of the game, scoring man-up off an assist by Cook. Jack Rowlett then forced a turnover by Hunter Moreland eight seconds later and the junior defenseman fed Kelly for a two-goal lead with 7:56 to play.

Charles Kelly was called for a penalty on the ensuing face-off but Pezzulla saved a shot by Fraser on the Hopkins EMO. UNC cleared the ball and called timeout and a minute and a half later, Kelly notched his fourth goal of the game to put the Heels up 12-9 with 5:09 to play.

Hopkins scored a pair of goals to cut UNC's lead to 12-11 with 3:06 to play. Carolina won the next face-off but turned the ball over and Hopkins had two shots to tie the game, both off cage, before Jack Keogh turned the ball over with 1:53 to play. After the Tar Heels were hit with a shot clock warning with 1:08 to play, Justin Anderson scored six seconds later to restore a two-game lead for the Tar Heels. Hopkins had two more shots and an EMO in the final minute but it turned the ball over with one second left and the Heels were ready for a celebration.

Next up for Carolina is a match against Mercer on Wednesday, February 28 at 4 p.m. at Kenan Stadium. Admission is free. The game will be webcast nationally on ACC Network Extra.

Pacific Coast Shootout

2018 Pacific Coast Shootout
Maryland  vs. North Carolina

2017 Pacific Coast Shootout
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2016 Pacific Coast Shootout
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2015 Pacific Coast Shootout
Maryland 10 • North Carolina 8

Pacific Coast Shootout
Denver 10 • Notre Dame 7