No. 1 North Carolina Pins First Season Loss of 2021 on Syracuse Women’s Lacrosse Team
by Joe Puccio
CitrusTV Women’s Lacrosse Beat Reporter
CHAPEL HILL, N.C — No. 1 North Carolina (11-0, 5-0 in Atlantic Coast Conference) outplayed No. 2 Syracuse Women’s Lacrosse (6-1, 4-1 in Atlantic Coast Conference), 13-6. This is SU’s first loss since February 7, 2020 and first road loss since April 13, 2019, which also happened in Chapel Hill.
There was much anticipation coming into this game. Syracuse dominated Virginia Tech last Saturday and immediately had their eyes set on North Carolina. For UNC, they’ve been dominating their competition all season and SU would be one of very few teams to hang with the mighty Tar Heels.
The Orange came out of the gates firing. After the first 10 minutes, Syracuse had a 4-1 lead thanks to two goals from junior attack Meaghan Tyrrell. After the Mt. Sinai, NY native’s second goal, SU wouldn’t score for the next 30 minutes.
The Tar Heels ended the first half on a 9-0 scoring run. SU was unable to sustain significant offensive possessions, while UNC’s attack took advantage. The ACC’s leading scorer, Jamie Ortega, netted a hat-trick in the first 30 and helped spark an insurmountable comeback.
“What a Carolina team,” Coach Gary Gait opened his postgame press conference. “They were incredibly athletic, were all over the place, and played with extreme confidence. They played like the number one team in the country.”
In the first half, North Carolina was able to capitalize on some Syracuse roughhousing. Orange defense Kerry Defliese was flagged for a yellow card in the final 10 minutes, creating two more goals to give UNC a 10-4 lead at the break.
Coming out of the break was more of the same. The Tar Heels opened up the scoring thanks to first-team All-American Scottie Rose Growney.
Syracuse ended their drought eight minutes into the second frame, as Meaghan Tyrrell notched her fifth-consecutive game with a hat-trick. The junior would score one last time at the 19-minute mark, concluding Syracuse’s day on the score sheet. North Carolina’s seven goals in the second half powered them to their 11th straight win of the season.
Tyrell, Sam Swart, Sierra Cockerille, and Megan Carney were the only Orange that appeared on the score sheet. Emma Ward, Emma Tyrrell, Bianca Chevarie, and Morgan Alexander were some of multiple SU starters that were held pointless.
On top of this, today was a rough performance for SU goaltender Asa Goldstock. The graduate netminder recorded six saves on 23 shots for a season-low .261 save percentage. Katie Hoeg and the Tar Heels distributed the rock in various fashions to allow for uncontested looks in the shooting space.
“It was a tough day for [Goldstock]. They scored 17 goals on 23 shots, all right in front of the goal,” said Coach Gait in remorse. “They finished their shots with conviction. They didn’t give Asa any easy saves and her six saves were hard-earned.”
The month of April did not get off on the right foot for Syracuse. However, SU will need to turn around quickly. The team will be playing a game every three days until the regular season completes, so April will be a fantastic month of lacrosse action.
Next up on the docket is a matchup with historic rival, Georgetown (3-5, 2-2 in Big East). The game was rescheduled from February 23 after COVID-19 protocols impacted the Hoyas. Faceoff in DC is at 1 pm on Tuesday.
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