Syracuse Looks To Upset UNC In Key Matchup
By Nick Luttrell
CitrusTV Field Hockey Beat Reporter
On Friday afternoon, #11 Syracuse (6-2, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) will host #5 North Carolina (6-3, 1-0 ACC) at J.S. Coyne Stadium. It will be the first home for the Orange in nearly a month.
Coming into town is a Tar Heels team that checks off the list in every category as one of the best teams in the country. But being a powerhouse program is nothing new for them. UNC has won three straight National Championships and is vying for a fourth this season.
Syracuse has been a good team in the past few years but haven’t beaten North Carolina since 2015 – the same year they won their own National Championship. While this is undoubtedly the biggest game of the season, Syracuse senior midfielder SJ Quigley said that her team is preparing like normal.
“I think we’re gonna take it like every other game this season and just prepare,” Quigley said.
North Carolina currently ranks as the second best offensive team in the country with over four and a half goals per game. During Tuesday’s press conference, Quigley talked about how her team stacked up against the Tar Heels.
“They’re fast, but I don’t think it’s anything that we can’t keep up with,” Quigley said, “Friday will be a good test to see where we’re at.”
A big reason why North Carolina has been so good the past few years is because of star player Erin Matson. The Pennsylvania native has won the NFHCA Player of the Year award the last two years and is poised for a third this year. She currently leads the country in goals (13) and assists (8).
When Syracuse Head Coach Ange Bradley was asked about what her team needs to do to slow down Matson and the top ranked UNC offense, she kept it simple.
“The game plan is to win.”
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