No. 3 UNC Snaps Syracuse’s Seven-Game Win Streak
By Jaron May
CitrusTV Women’s Lacrosse Beat Reporter
CHAPEL HILL, NC — In a marquee matchup between two of the top teams in the nation, No. 3 Syracuse (13-3, 5-2 Atlantic Coast) and No. 5 North Carolina (11-3, 4-2) not only had to battle each other, but Mother Nature, as well. After a weather delay prior to first draw and another during halftime, the Tar Heels put together one of the most complete performances you will see as a lacrosse fan. They downed the Orange 11-5.
The North Carolina onslaught began early on Saturday afternoon. UNC controlled the first three draws and took advantage of them. Gianna Bowe, Tayler Warehime, and Kara Klages all found the back of the net in the first ten minutes to jump out to a 3-0 lead.
Syracuse battled back, however. Head coach Gary Gait switched up his draw specialist from Emily Hawryschuk to Morgan Widner. The adjustment was a big one, as the Orange answered with three unanswered goals of their own. Hawryschuk was responsible for the first two and Morgan Alexander added another.
After scoring three in a row, Syracuse was held scoreless by the North Carolina defense for 21 minutes. In that time, the Tar Heels scored five goals to take an 8-3 lead.
With SU’s Allyson Trice face guarding UNC’s more dangerous offensive threat, Jamie Ortega, a pair of Tar Heels stepped up— Katie Hoeg and Tayler Warehime. Hoeg was the distributor with 6 assists, while Warehime assumed the position of finisher, tallying 4 goals.
The Tar Heels offense was pretty simple and executed perfectly. They placed Hoeg behind the net and sent cutters right through the middle of the Syracuse defense. Hoeg would wait until a cutter was open and deliver a beautifully placed pass time and again.
UNC did this every possession and drained the shot clock until there was an open look. The time of possession differential heavily favored the Tar Heels. Even when the Orange got the ball on the offensive side of the field, they couldn’t finish their shots.
Syracuse shot just 17% on the afternoon. A big reason why was the outstanding play of North Carolina’s goalie, Taylor Moreno. The sophomore is known to be one of the most talented keepers in the country and she lived up to the praise on Saturday.
Save, after save, after save, Moreno wouldn’t let a Syracuse shot past her. She finished with 12 saves and held the 12th best scoring offense in the country to its lowest mark of the season with just 5 goals.
The second half was littered with more North Carolina goals until the final horn rang. The loss doesn’t currently hurt Syracuse’s standing in the ACC, as the Orange still sit at second in the conference, but that could change with both Notre Dame and North Carolina on SU’s heels.
In a game that could foreshadow a possible ACC tournament or even NCAA tournament matchup, the Orange would have loved a different result. Either way, Syracuse has one more game to round out its regular season when it hosts in-state rival Cornell on Tuesday.
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