CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Harvard's fourth-quarter rally came up short in a 16-11 season-opening road loss in wet conditions at No. 12/14 North Carolina. The Crimson fell to 0-1 on the year, while the Tar Heels moved to 3-0.
UNC scored three of the game's first four goals, but Harvard was kept in the game by first-year Austin Madronic, who scored the team's first two goals of 2019. Ryan Graff added Harvard's third goal of the game and the first of what would be a career day for the junior.
Both teams equaled its scoring output in the second quarter, which gave the Tar Heels an 8-6 lead at halftime. Jack Frisoli posted his first goal of the season, stopping what was a brief 3-0 streak for the home side. Then as the first half was coming to a close and with Harvard trailing, 8-4, Graff heated up in the final 2:30, scoring twice to keep the Crimson within striking distance.
Harvard narrowed its deficit in the third quarter thanks to single goals from last year's leading scorer, Kyle Anderson, and Madronic, and a stellar effort from goalie Kyle Mullin. The Crimson entered the final frame down, 11-8.
Harvard tightened its defense to stymie the North Carolina attack all while putting pressure offensively on the Tar Heels. The Crimson finally broke through when Graff scored with 10:31 to go, bringing the visitors to within a pair of goals. Then, not two minutes later, Graff found the back of the net again, making it a one-goal game with 8:48 left in the contest. UNC, however, scored three unanswered goals, and three of the final five for the game, to pull away.
- Ryan Graff scored a career-high five goals. His previous personal record was four goals, which he had done twice before.
- Harvard started three first-years in Isaiah Dawson, Nick Loring and Austin Madronic.
- Sophomore Kyle Mullin, who made his first career start in net, recorded a career-high 15 saves.
- Isaiah Dawson scored his first career goal with 2:38 left in the contest.
- Kyle Anderson extended his point-scoring streak to 14 games, which dates to last season.
Harvard makes its home debut next Saturday, Feb. 23, when it welcomes Massachusetts to Jordan Field. Game time is slated for 1 p.m. with the contest airing on ESPN+.