NCAA Lacrosse: UNC Takes Down No. 5 Princeton 16-15

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NCAA Lacrosse: UNC Takes Down No. 5 Princeton 16-15
Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

In a game that featured 31 goals and 99 shots, the UNC Tar Heels defended their home turf, downing the surging Princeton Tigers in a 16-15 thriller.

Led by six-point performances from Jimmy Bitter and Joey Sankey, North Carolina was able to outlast Princeton by outscoring the Tigers down the stretch. Bitter had three goals and three assists on the day, while Sankey tallied two goals and four assists.

The new rules in college lacrosse have certainly increased the pace of play, which resulted in an onslaught of shots and goals in Chapel Hill on Saturday. Both goalies saw a fair share of business in cage, with UNC's Kieran Burke recording a 40-percent save rate while Matt O'Conner of Princeton saved 42 percent of the shots he saw.

Princeton looked sharp on offense as well, paced by five goals and two assists from sophomore attacker Mike MacDonald. All-American Tom Schreiber recorded four goals and two assists on the day, fighting through aggressive slides from the UNC defense. Senior Jeff Froccaro had four goals of his own, continuing his incredible 2013 season.

In a back-and-forth battle, both teams showed great poise offensively, putting their foot on the gas for a full 60 minutes. Princeton outshot UNC 56-43, but UNC put more shots on cage, which put it in a winning position as the final buzzer sounded. RG Keenan would score his only goal of the game with only seconds left to break the 15-15 tie and win the game for the 3-2 Tar Heels.

By winning 20 of 34 face-offs, Keenan once again exposed Princeton in a facet of its game that desperately needs to improve moving forward.

UNC will host Duke Wednesday night in a classic ACC rivalry. Duke is coming off of a huge win against Loyola and will look to continue its hot streak.

Princeton hosts Manhattan on Tuesday night before beginning Ivy League play at Penn next Saturday.

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