No. 6 Tar Heels 15-9 winners over High Point

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The sixth-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels downed the High Point Panthers 15-9 in front of a crowd of 612 that braved the cool weather to witness the action at Navy Field on Tuesday.

The game, originally scheduled to be played at Fetzer Field with a  4 p.m. start time, was moved back two hours to the Tar Heels’ artificial turf practice field, due to saturated, wet conditions on the natural surface.

Jimmy Bitter posted four goals and two assists while Peyton Klawinski and Chad Tutton each had three goals apiece to power the Tar Heels (2-0) offense that shot at a 39-percent conversion rate for the game.

Coming off a 16-13 loss to defending NCAA-champion Duke on Saturday, High Point (1-2) was led by Matt Thistle’s two goals and two assists, with Brad James adding two more goals as part of the Panthers’ seven-man scoring spread.

High Point’s Jamie Piluso dominated at faceoff-X, winning 20 of 28 face-offs and had a game-high nine ground balls.

Penalties tied the Tar Heels down and allowed High Point to score four goals on extra-man situations, but UNC kept pace with a 3-of-4 finish in man-up situations.

North Carolina finished much better than High Point on the shot percentage even while Panthers keeper Austin Geisler made 12 saves.

North Carolina placed 26 of its 39 shots on cage and were able to take a 7-2 lead following the first quarter, as Geisler and the Panthers defense struggled.

UNC finished with a 39-36 edge in shots and a 42-39 advantage in ground balls, while the Panthers committed 13 turnovers UNC’s 11.

High Point’s leading scorer coming into the game, Dan Lomas, had six ground balls but was limited to one goal off a 12-shot effort.

UNC redshirt freshman goalkeeper Brian Balkman played the first half and made seven saves, including five in the second quarter, while Duncan Saunders played the second half for Carolina and made four saves to complete the win.

Carolina led throughout the game, even while the Panthers played them even during the second and fourth quarters.

The Tar Heels led 9-4 at halftime and kept High Point to a 6-5 margin to carry its momentum for the rest of the game to earn their second win of the season.

UNC will next play host to Massachusetts on Saturday at Fetzer Field with a Noon faceoff.