We’re breaking down each and every NCAA D1 team one by one to get prepped for the rapidly approaching season. Welcome back to the Alphabetical 2013 NCAA D1 Previews! We move another spot down the list and the North Carolina Tar Heels, located in Chapel Hill, NC, are up for Preview!
UNC went 11-6 in 2012, and they did so while playing TEN games against teams who ended up in the Top 20 by the end of the season. PSU, Princeton, Maryland, Johns Hopkins, and Virginia all fell to the Heels once in 2012. Lehigh, Duke (twice), Virginia, and Denver were their Top 20 losses. UNC also dropped a game to Penn, which may have been their worst loss of the year.
2013 sees UNC take on a truly different schedule. It’s still tough, but it is also loaded with winnable games, and it is clear that UNC is striving to improve on their 11-6 record from last year. Air Force will be tough way to open up, but is winnable. UMass is also tough, but a great opportunity for an OOC win. Farifield, Notre Dame, and Princeton all provide a strong SOS. Dartmouth, Brown, and High Point should be wins, hypothetically, and Hopkins is a great late season test. Add in the ACC schedule and tourney, and UNC has a tough, but different, road to follow.
Looking down the UNC roster, you’ll notice there are only six attackmen on the team this year. But with all that talent, who cares? Holman, Bitter, Sankey… those three names represent a staggering 159 returning points. Those guys don’t get first names because they don’t need first names.
The midfield lost a little spark to graduation… aw, who am I kidding? No, they didn’t. UNC’s midfielders are ready to go, proven, talented, and provide a ton of depth. Davey Emala, Greg McBride, Chad Tutton and others return in 2013. Add in freshman Steven Pontrello and Mike Tagliaferi, and you have a dangerous group of players once again. UNC has tons of talent on offense… what else is new? RG Keenan returns for another year of excellent face off work.
Defensively, UNC looked better in 2012 than they had in years past. A big part of the was due to the consistency Steven Rastivo showed in goal. The slight keeper is back for his last year, and should be looking better than ever. If Rastivo falters, there are three young keepers on the roster who be called to step in, however, the spot is the Senior’s to lose. Jordan Smith and Kieran McDonald provide experience and leadership on defense. I’m interested to see if Brian Sullivan or Matt Shannon will see more time this year.
UNC is right there, but putting it all together is a lot tougher than just having all the right pieces. If there is a year where UNC was going to re-emerge as a total powerhouse and contender, 2013 is looking as good as any in recent memory, at least on paper. The UMass, Princeton, and Maryland games should be excellent gauges as to where UNC truly sits.
Click HERE to see Alphabetical 2013 NCAA D1 Preview posts for Air Force, Albany, Army, Bellarmine, Binghamton, Brown, Bryant, Bucknell, Canisius, Colgate, Cornell, Dartmouth, Denver, Detroit, Drexel, Duke, Fairfield, Hartford, Harvard, High Point, Hobart, Hofstra, Holy Cross, Jacksonville, Johns Hopkins, Lafayette, Lehigh, Loyola, Manhattan, Marist, Marquette, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mercer, Michigan, Mount St. Mary’s, and Navy!