Men’s lacrosse opened their season in Charlotte, NC against the ninth best team in the nation, UNC. Despite the hard competition that resulted in a loss, the Leopards were able to score in double digits, with a final score of 17-10.
UNC walked on the field ready to play, beginning the game with a three goal spree. After a tough first quarter, with UNC up 6-2, the Leopards kept up with the Tar Heels in a 3-3 second quarter. After the first half, UNC came out hot with four more goals, creating a larger goal gap on the scoreboard. Despite out shooting UNC 46-38, the Leopards were unable to out score the Tar Heels in any quarter.
Freshman attacker John Natoli began his collegiate career with three goals and one assist, a promising start for the rookie. Senior captain and midfielder Will McCarthy added two goals and two assists during the game. Junior goalkeeper Jonathan Anastos finished the game with ten saves, while sophomore midfielder John Becker won 19 of the 31 faceoffs during the game.
UNC won the Atlantic Coast Conference last season and is expected to finish third this year. Although the Leopards came home with a loss, their first game showed their ability to be competitive against a highly ranked team.
After a 1-7 record in league play last season, it looks as though the Leopards are ready to bounce back and surprise Patriot League teams in 2018.
The Leopards travel to Madison, NJ on Feb. 10 to play NJIT, whom they beat 12-11 in last year’s preseason play. The game will take place at 11:30 a.m. at Drew University.