Petracca Leads UNC in Shootout Win Over RMU
from press release
MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. - In a matchup of the
nation's top-ranked offensive and defensive teams, third-ranked
North Carolina got a combined 19 points from the starting attack
unit of Gavin Petracca, Billy Bitter and Marcus Holman as it
defeated Robert Morris 17-14 Saturday afternoon on Senior Day for
the Colonials' fourth-year players at Joe Walton Stadium. With the
win, the Tar Heels improved to 11-1 on the season heading into next
Friday's ACC Tournament semifinals at College Park, Md., while the
Colonials fell to 8-4 on the campaign.
After scoring only five goals on 47 shots in last Saturday's 7-5 loss to top-ranked Virginia at the Konica Minolta Big City Classic in East Rutherford, N.J., Carolina's offense stepped up in a big way against the Colonials, scoring 17 goals on 36 overall shots, including 10 goals in the first half on only 15 shots. UNC scored 17 goals on only 21 shots on goal as the Colonials were only able to make four saves in the match. Senior attackman Gavin Petracca had a career-high six goals in the game and he matched his career best with eight points overall. Junior attackman Billy Bitter equaled his career high for assists in a game with four and he had six points overall, while freshman attackman Marcus Holman had career highs for assists with three and points with five as Carolina matched its season high for goals scored in a game which first came against Lehigh on February 20 in a 17-5 UNC win at Fetzer Field.
Robert Morris came into the match with the nation's top-ranked scoring offense at 15.73 goals per contest while UNC entered play with the top-ranked scoring defense at 6.36 goals per game.
As things evolved, it was the offenses on both sides that put on a show. The Tar Heels allowed a season-high 14 goals, exceeding the 11 that Princeton scored against UNC on March 16 in a 12-11 Carolina triumph. The 14 goals were the most allowed by UNC since Duke beat the Heels 15-13 in the ACC Tournament championship game last season on April 26, 2009. Even with those 14 goals, the Colonials were still 1.73 goals short of their average despite being only the ninth Tar Heel opponent in the last 31 games to score in double digits against UNC's defense. Carolina's man-down defense did a good job as the Colonials did not score in three opportunities. RMU came into the game with the nation's top-ranked EMO unit at .571. Carolina's unit came in ranked No. 3 at .559 and it scored on two of its four chances.
"I'm really proud of our guys for coming up here and getting a hard-fought road win coming off our loss to Virginia last Saturday. It was good to bounce back into the win column heading into the ACC Tournament," said UNC head coach Joe Breschi. "We knew coming in that Robert Morris was a very skilled offense and they showed why it has the No. 1-ranked scoring offense in the country. That was as good as any offense we've played this year. No matter how you try to prepare to play against it, it is hard to simulate that kind of style in practice. Their Canadian style of offense is very hard to get used to."
Gavin Petracca led the Tar Heels with six goals scored while Billy Bitter, Marcus Holman and senior midfielder Cryder DiPietro had two goals apiece. Defenseman Sean Jackson had his second career goal while midfielders Jimmy Dunster, Michael Burns, Chris Hunt and Cam Wood each scored once. Bitter led the Tar Heels with four assists while Holman had three helpers and Petracca two. Junior Ed Prevost had his first career assist in the game.
" I think our offense all around had great game for us," said Breschi. "Gavin Petracca showed out there today was a great field leader he is with six goals and two assists. Billy Bitter and Marcus Holman had big games for us as well and we got some key goals from the midfield unit."
Robert Morris' offense was led by Corbyn TaoBrambleby with five goals and an assist while Trevor Moore had three goals for the Colonials and Patrick Smith and Taylor Caparosa had two tallies apiece.
Robert Morris finished the game with a 38-36 edge in shots while UNC led in ground balls 36-35. RMU led in face-offs 19-14. Michael Burns won eight of his 22 face-offs for UNC while Mark Staines won a career-high six in his 11 chances. Carolina had 18 turnovers while RMU committed 19. UNC forced 14 of the 19 Colonial turnovers with junior defenseman Ryan Flanagan leading the way with four caused turnovers. Flanagan also led the Tar Heels with five ground balls. Chris Madalon went all 60 minutes for UNC in goal, making 11 saves. Robert Morris had four saves in the game with Dillon Pope making one save in 23:28 and Charles Ruppert three saves in 36:32. Both teams cleared the ball well with UNC going 12 for 13 and RMU 12 for 15.
The 31 combined goals were the most in a game UNC has played in since April 8, 2010 when Virginia and Carolina teamed up for 34 goals in a 21-13 win by the Cavaliers.
Gavin Petracca's six goals marked a new career high for him, exceeding the five goals he had against Vermont on March 13, 2007. His eight points matched his career high set previously against Denver on February 14, 2009. Billy Bitter's four assists matched his career high. This is the third time he has had four in a match. He previously had four against Denver on February 14, 2009 and also against Lehigh on February 20, 2010. Marcus Holman matched his career high for points with five, equaling the total he had against Maryland three Saturdays ago. He had the first multi-assist match of his career with three.
Carolina will return to action next Friday in the semifinals of the 2010 ACC Tournament which will be played at Byrd Stadium on the University of Maryland campus in College Park, Md. Semifinal games are at 5 and 7:30 p.m. Friday and the championship game is Sunday, April 25 at 3:30 p.m.
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