No. 1 Tar Heels vault past Vanderbilt, 22-8

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.  – The defending-champion North Carolina Tar Heels launched another big offensive attack in a dominating 22-8 win over the Vanderbilt Commodores at Fetzer Field on Saturday.

Seniors Abbey Friend (six goals) and Taylor George (5 goals) along with freshman Sydney Holman (1 goal, six assists) led the way in pacing the offense while recording notable individual performances.

The unbeaten Tar Heels (4-0) posted their third 20-plus goal performance of the season, and started it by taking a quick 5-0 lead during the first 10 minutes of play.

Even while Vanderbilt (2-2) came back to narrow the score to 8-6, the Tar Heels put together another scoring surge that put them ahead 13-6 at halftime.

North Carolina continued to clamp down on the Commodores defensively while moving the ball forward in transition and picking their spots to outscore them 9-2 during the final 30 minutes of play.

“We worked really hard in the offseason,” Friend said.

“Whether it’s on the field at 6 a.m. for runs or in the weight room. Whatever it is, we work really hard. We like to demonstrate that and show how hard we work and just hope to keep it rolling.”

With Friend and George recording career-high scoring performances, Holman tied the UNC school record for assists in a game, a mark that was first established back in March 1997.

“We’re having so much fun working every day in practice,” Holman said.

“I think a lot of the chemistry is showing on the field now, finally. Our feeds are clicking, we’re cutting through for each other…Scoring’s fun, but I love assisting as well and giving my players a chance to score. I wouldn’t be able to do it without them. I’m really lucky to have such great teammates.”

In addition to the team’s offensive performers, junior midfielder Sarah Scott set a school record by controlling nine draws, beating the previous high of eight set back in February 2009.

At the back end, Tar Heels starting goalkeeper Megan Ward picked up her fourth win of the season playing for the first 30 minutes and making two saves, while newcomer Caylee Waters tended the goal for the final 30 minutes and finished with six saves.

“It’s always good to see records broken – they’re there to be broken,” North Carolina head coach Jenny Levy said.

“I just think that was a tremendous effort individually and collectively from our team. Every day’s a chance to get better. Our challenge today was to play better than we had the past three games. I thought in some areas we did that.”