For most college lacrosse teams, conference play tends to be a struggle. Then again, Syracuse (6-4, 3-0 ACC) is not your typical lacrosse squad.
The Orange has had great triumphs in ACC play, but have struggled in non-conference competitions. After losing 13-8 to Cornell last Tuesday, Syracuse dropped 3-4 against non-ACC opponents. Luckily for them, they face a familiar ACC team this weekend. The Orange play host to a struggling North Carolina (6-6, 0-2 ACC) team on Saturday.
In conference play, Syracuse is averaging 13.6 goals per game and holding opponents to just over 10 goals a game. The Orange has managed to pull off signature road wins over Virginia and Duke. And maybe most importantly, SU has already clinched the number one seed in the ACC Tournament.
Meanwhile, the Orange has been less-than-stellar in non-conference play. The ‘Cuse is averaging 10.1 goals per game and has a 10.5 goals allowed average. Excluding the season-opening 21-4 drubbing over Binghamton, those numbers are even worse. Syracuse has also lost two games at home by more than ten goals (Albany and Johns Hopkins).
Fortunately for the Orange, this matchup presents a conference foe that is free-falling with no signs of stopping.
North Carolina has had a season to remember; for all the wrong reasons. The Heels started off at 6-0 and were ranked as high as 9th in the weekly Inside Lacrosse poll. Since the 6-0 start, UNC has gone 0-6, giving up ten or more goals in every game during the stretch.
With only Saturday’s game against Syracuse and a contest with Notre Dame a week later remaining in the regular season, the Tar Heels need to start winning now. And for that to happen, they need to Chris Cloutier to play his best. His 28 goals lead North Carolina and Cloutier has ten more points than the next closest Tar Heel. He’s the spark plug for a desperate UNC squad.
With a win, the Orange would improve to 4-0 in the ACC, and likely remain in the top 10 despite their loss to Cornell. A win for the Tar Heels would boost their chances of reaching the NCAA tournament.
WAER has you covered for SU-UNC beginning at 3:30 with Countdown to Faceoff, followed by the opening draw at 4, right here on the original home of the Orange.