Men's Lacrosse Impresses at No. 9 North Carolina
Feb. 3, 2018
EASTON, Pa. - The future looks bright for the Lafayette men's lacrosse team with freshman John Natoli registering three goals and an assist as the Leopards played No. 9 North Carolina tough in their season opener on Saturday afternoon, falling by a 17-10 score.
Natoli, a rookie attacker out of Mountain Lakes, N.J., scored his three goals on just four shots to lead the Leopard offense. Senior co-captain Will McCarthy had an excellent showing as well, scoring two goals and adding two assists to go along with a trio of ground balls on the afternoon.
Junior goalie Jonathan Anastos took some time to settle into the game, but proved his worth throughout with 10 saves on the day. Shots finished at 46-38 in favor of the Maroon and White, while sophomore John Becker controlled the X, winning 19 of the game's 31 faceoffs.
After a three-goal run to start the game from North Carolina, the defending ACC champion and picked to finish third in this year's ACC preseason poll, sophomore Robbie Garavente got the Leopards on the board off a Natoli feed to make it 3-1. Carolina answered with three of the next four to take a 6-2 advantage into the second period.
The two teams were evenly matched in the second stanza, as freshman Andrew Robbins found the back of the net off a pass from McCarthy to start it, cutting the lead to three at 6-3. UNC responded with a pair before freshman Adam Close found Natoli, who slotted his first of the game at the 6:39 mark of the second to make it 8-4. Each team added another tally late in the half as the game went into the break with Carolina on top, 9-5.
The third quarter is where the home side made its move, as after two goals from each side over the first 14 minutes, Carolina was able to beat Anastos thrice in the final 1:13 of the third to stretch its lead to six at 13-7. Lafayette made a run late in the fourth as three straight markers from McCarthy, Garavente and Natoli made it 15-10 with 3:33 to go, but that was as close as the comeback would get as two more Tar Heel tallies closed it out with a final of 17-10.
Lafayette returns to action in a week's time, traveling to Madison, N.J. for a meeting with NJIT on Saturday. Opening faceoff from Drew University is set for 11:30 a.m.