The No. 3 Carolina men’s lacrosse team faces its first tough test in the season when it takes on No. 11 Notre Dame Saturday at 12 p.m. at Fetzer Field.

UNC comes into the pivotal ACC matchup with a 3-0 record while Notre Dame enters the contest at 1-1 on the year.

Senior Frankie Kelly says the offensive ability of junior Joey Sankey is a difference maker for the Tar Heels.

“His skills that he brings to the table with his quickness and stick work – they’re unbelievable. He’s got a great level of toughness to get around the goal to finish shots inside with creativity and also he’s able to ride hard and to make the right plays to organize our offense. He’s been a great leader for us,” Kelly says.

Kelly says having his little brother, Stephen Kelly, here on the team with him for one season has been a rewarding experience.

“It’s been really special. […] It’s been really cool. I think it’s been cool for my parents. It’s been cool for us. Even this last game against Dartmouth, we each got game balls. We both did pretty well facing off. To get that with him and to be able to give those game balls to our dad for his birthday, which was right around the same time, was really cool,” Kelly says.

Kelly says the Tar Heels understand the daunting task that the Fighting Irish present. But he says he thinks Carolina should be up to the challenge.

“Notre Dame’s a different level. We know that. They’re going to be really good defensively. With Cavanaugh in attack, he’s one of the best players in the country. We’re excited for the challenge. We’re excited to prove to people that our 3-0 start isn’t just the result of an easier schedule to start the year, but that we’re the real deal,” Kelly says.