North Carolina and Brown, two schools who both played in the 2009 NCAA Tournament, traveled the width of the nation Saturday to meet in the first-ever San Francisco Lacrosse Fall Classic at historic Kezar Stadium in Golden Gate Park. The Tar Heels prevailed 13-5 over the Bears but the biggest winner on the day was BAYS, the Bay Area Youth Sports Foundation.
All proceeds from the event went to charity as a crowd of 4,789 fans attended the event at the former long-time home of the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers played their game at Kezar from 1946-70.
After long trips to the Bay Area on Friday from the East Coast, both UNC head coach Joe Breschi and Brown head coach Lars Tiffany made liberal use of their benches.
The tone of the game was set in the first half by the Tar Heel defense, which forced numerous turnovers and failed clears and held the Bears off the scoreboard in the first 30 minutes while the Tar Heels scored five goals of their own. Brown goalkeeper Matt Chriss was outstanding in the opening two periods, making 10 saves for a .667 save percentage.
Neither team marked in the opening eight plus minutes before UNC sophomore midfielder Jimmy Dunster scored an unassisted goal with 6:14 left in the period. Three minutes later, sophomore attackman Thomas Wood took a bounce pass from Logan Corey and scored low to high with a bounce shot to make it 2-0. Billy Bitter finished off the scoring in the first quarter, scoring despite a triple team with a shot that eked over the goal line by just a couple of inches at 1:34.
UNC added two goals in the second quarter. Sophomore midfielder Jeff Muscatello scored on a high, hard shot at 7:35. Then sophomore defensive midfielder Chris Layne, who along with Muscatello and defensive midfielder Tyler Morton comprised one of the three offensive midfield units, scored the first of his two goals off an assist by Bitter with 4:27 left in the half.
Chris Madalon went the opening half in goal for UNC and made three saves.
Both teams scored three goals in the third quarter. Dunster got his second goal of the game at 13:32 off an assist by senior midfielder Sean Burke. Brown then struck for back-to-back goals to get on the scoreboard, both off nice assists to cut the margin to 6-2. Rob Schlesinger scored off a pass by San Francisco native and University High School graduate Parker Brown at 12:58, followed by a goal by Dan O’Brien assisted by Julian Musikant at 10:06.
UNC’s Thomas Wood scored his second goal of the game with an assist from fellow sophomore Dunster at 6:28 but Brown answered 56 seconds later as Andrew Feinberg finished his off scoring opportunity nicely via a pass from Thomas Muldoon. The Tar Heels closed the scoring in the quarter on Tyler Morton’s goal at 2:42, assisted by Jeff Muscatello.
The Tar Heels pulled away in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Bears, 5-2. UNC scored back-to-back unassisted goals by Burke and Layne at 14:11 and 12:43, respectively. Senior defenseman Sean Jackson then broke a clear, scooped up the ground ball and fed a wide-open Marcus Holman, a freshman attackman, for an easy goal on the crease at 9:28.
The two teams traded goals the rest of the way. Feinberg scored unassisted on a behind-the-back shot while rolling the crease at 5:34. UNC freshman midfielder Cam Wood, who played on the third midfield, scored unassisted at 2:45 to make 12-4. Brown got its last score with 1:01 to play on George Sherman’s unassisted goal. On the ensuing face-off, UNC closed out the scoring for the day at the 52-second mark as freshman attackman Stephen Burns fed Marcus Holman for Holman’s second goal of the match.
James Petracca played the second 30 minutes in goal for UNC, making six saves. Noah Beatty and Wills Curley each played 15 minutes in the second half for Brown.
100 percent of the proceeds from the event went directly to the BAYS Foundation to support programs and organizations that provide opportunities and increase access for low-income youth in the Bay Area to participate in organized sports programs.