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Freshman goalie Johnson – who led Manheim Twp to PIAA title – has brilliant 21-save effort to lead UNC past Duke

Sunday, 31st March 2019

Categories Boy's/Men's, High School, Posted 3/31/19
From Press Release

Caton Johnson – who helped lead Manheim Township to a PIAA Class AAA championship last June – made the most saves in a game by a University of North Carolina men’s lacrosse true freshman goalkeeper in history, including nine in the fourth quarter, and the Tar Heel defense held fifth-ranked Duke scoreless over the last 17:50 of the game as unranked Carolina rallied past the Blue Devils 10-8 before 3,734 fans at sun-drenched UNC Lacrosse Stadium Saturday afternoon.

Caton Johnson, seen here hoisting PIAA hardware for Manheim Twp 10 month ago, enjoyed a memorable effort for UNC

Johnson (Duke’s LC), who had only played eight minutes this season prior to Saturday, made 21 saves against the Blue Devils and allowed only seven goals (he was in the penalty box when the Blue Devils scored one of their goals). It was the most saves by a UNC goalkeeper since Kieran Burke had 21 saves against Harvard on March 17, 2015 in a 15-10 UNC victory.

The two goalkeepers were a big story in the game as Turner Uppgren had a career-high 15 saves for the Blue Devils, three more than he had last Sunday in a 9-8 overtime loss at Syracuse. The Blue Devil senior had seven of his 15 saves in the opening period.

UNC bounced back from a 16-9 loss at Maryland last Saturday to improve to 7-3 on the season while winning its ACC opener and beating the Blue Devils for the first time since 2016 and only the third time in Chapel Hill since 2003. Duke is now 8-3 overall and 0-2 in the ACC. The Blue Devils had won seven games in a row this season before its losses to Syracuse and Carolina in the last six days.

Carolina played a deep roster, including 10 true freshmen amongst the 27 players who saw the field. UNC started three true freshmen on attack for the first time in school history as Nicky Solomon, Jacob Kelly and Brian Cameron earned the starts.

UNC senior Jake Peden (Downingtown East) also stood out as an anchor on the back line for the Heels.

Midfielder Matt Gavin played in the second midfield unit and saw action in just his sixth game this season but led Carolina offensively with two goals and an assist. Brian Cameron matched his career high for goals in a game with two tallies (he also scored twice earlier this year against Furman). Both freshman attackman Nicky Solomon and senior midfielder Timmy Kelly had a goal and an assist for the Tar Heels. Solomon has scored a goal in 10 straight games, each contest of his freshman season, and Kelly ran his streak for successive games with a point to 15 matches over the last two years.

Alex Trippi, Justin Anderson, Andy Matthews and Will Nicklaus had goals for Carolina. Nicklaus, whose father played golf at Carolina in the 1980s and whose grandfather is legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus, played in his first game for Carolina. His goal with 1:29 to play in the third quarter pulled UNC within 8-7 and sparked a scoring spree which saw North Carolina score three goals in the final 1:29 of the third quarter. Ryan O’Connell and Tanner Cook added assists for North Carolina.

Nakeie Montgomery scored three goals for Duke, all in a row in the third period. His third goal was part of a five-goal run by Duke which lifted it from a 6-3 deficit to an 8-6 lead with 2:50 left in the third period. Garrett Leadmon (Duke’s LC), Joey Manown, Jake Seau, Kevin Quigley and Reilly Walsh all scored single goals for Duke while Joe Robertson (Duke’s LC) and Brad Smith each had two assists. Robertson and Smith came into the game leading Duke in points with 37 and 30, respectively, but the UNC defense denied both of them goals (Robertson had nine shots-five saved by Johnson-and Smith five shots in the game, three of which were saved by Johnson).

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