Heels move to 5-0 with 14-7 win over Mercer

Chris Cloutier scored six goals in the Tar Heels 14-7 win over Mercer
CHAPEL HILL, N.C.. (courtesy  – Behind a six-goal effort by senior attackman Chris Cloutier, the University of North Carolina men's lacrosse team improved to 5-0 on the season with a 14-7 win over the Mercer Bears on Wednesday afternoon at Kenan Stadium.

Cloutier led the Tar Heels with six goals while eight other Tar Heels each scored a single goal. The six goals by Cloutier were the second most he has ever had in a game in his career, topped only by the nine goals he scored against Loyola in the NCAA Tournament semifinals on May 28, 2016.

The win was the 199th of Tar Heel head coach Joe Breschi's collegiate coaching career. He gets his first chance at win No. 200 Saturday when the Tar Heels host St. John's.

Freshmen Alex Trippi and Sean Morris and sophomore William Perry joined Cloutier as Tar Heels with multiple points in the game. Trippi had a goal and two assists while both Morris and Perry had a goal and an assist. The Bears (1-4 on the season) got three goals from Scott Baird and a pair of tallies by Matt Quinn.

The Tar Heels outshot the Bears 42-34 in the match and the home side had a slight edge in ground balls at 28-24. Junior Jack Halpert led the Tar Heels with a career-high six ground balls.

Junior Charles Kelly won 14 of 21 face-offs, the second most draws he has won in a game in his career. He also had five ground balls while Ryan Macri had four ground balls and Jack Pezzulla and Alex Trippi had three each. The only game in which Kelly has won more face-offs came against Lehigh on February 17 when he won 15. Kiel Brennan took all 24 face-offs for Mercer, winning nine.

Bradley Hodoval played all 60 minutes in goal for the Bears, making 16 saves while allowing 14 goals. Pezzulla started his third straight game in goal for the Tar Heels and played 47:53, making 10 saves and allowing just four goals. Junior Alex Bassil played the last 12:07 of the match and made four saves while allowing three goals.

UNC was a perfect 17 for 17 in the clearing game while Mercer was 16 for 21. The Bears committed 12 turnovers while UNC had just 10 but five of those came in the fourth quarter when Mercer outscored Carolina 3-1.

UNC's extra-man offense continued to thrive on the young season, going three for four. Mercer did not score on its four extra-man chances.

After Tanner Cook of Carolina and Scott Baird of Mercer exchanged goals, Cloutier scored a man-up goal with 4:19 left in the first quarter, a tally which put the Tar Heels up for good in the game. Cloutier's goal was the first of eight successive tallies by Carolina. The Canadian senior had three of those eight goals. Mercer retaliated with a pair of goals before Cloutier finished the scoring in the first half with 55 seconds left, giving the Tar Heels a 10-3 lead at intermission.

UNC outscored the Bears 3-1 in the third quarter with two of the three goals coming from Cloutier. UNC achieved its biggest lead of the game at 14-4 with 12:07 left in the fourth quarter on an extra-man goal by William Perry. Mercer scored the last three goals of the contest, including back-to-back goal by Matt Quinn at 5:53 and 3:01 of the final period.

Next up for Carolina is a match against St. John's on Saturday, March 3 at 10:30 a.m. at Kenan Stadium. Admission is free. The game will be webcast nationally on ACC Network Extra. 

Pacific Coast Shootout

2020 Pacific Coast Shootout
Yale 17 •  Michigan 11

2019 Pacific Coast Shootout
Notre Dame 10 • Denver 7

2018 Pacific Coast Shootout
Maryland 11 • North Carolina 7

2017 Pacific Coast Shootout
Virginia 19 • Cornell 18 (OT)

2016 Pacific Coast Shootout
Notre Dame 9 • Maryland 4

2015 Pacific Coast Shootout
Maryland 10 • North Carolina 8

Pacific Coast Shootout
Denver 10 • Notre Dame 7