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Elite Tar Heel Offense Overwhelms Orange, 21-9

Syracuse fans ought to be thankful that time of possession isn’t a stat in lacrosse. Were that the case, #5 North Carolina would have dominated. UNC’s (9-2, 2-2 ACC) offense was in Syracuse’s (5-4, 1-3 ACC) bubble all afternoon, en route to a 21-9 beatdown.

Right from the opening draw, it was all black and blue. Carolina swarmed the cage early, scoring four times in the first five minutes. Two of those goals were from midfielder Justin Anderson, and were his only points on the day. 
Anderson was one of 12 scorers for the Tar Heels. Captain Chris Gray led UNC with 8 points, adding to his NCAA Division I-high 60 on the season. The senior attackman compiled a pair of goals and a career-high six assists to four different teammates.

Syracuse fans looking on as the #9 Orange get squashed by #5 North Carolina.

If you’re noticing a trend so far, it’s clear that North Carolina’s ball movement was too much for Syracuse to handle. The Heels outscored the ‘Cuse in all four periods, handing S.U. its largest loss since 2018, when UAlbany rocked the Carrier Dome with a 15-3 blowout. It was also the first time since 2014 against Duke that the Orange allowed 20+.

The horrific milestones don’t stop there. Drake Porter surrendered a career-worst number of goals, smashing his previous mark by three. The Tar Heels’ unrelenting attack, combined with a losing effort at the Faceoff X and five clearing failures by the Orange, ultimately left the All-American goalie gasping for air in net.

“They win a faceoff, and we go and get a stop defensively, then we go to clear the ball and we give it right back to them,” said Head Coach John Desko. “We can’t [do that], or else we’re going to be playing less offense and more defense every game."

Porter struggled mightily, but all too often found himself in dire situations. On the other side, UNC goaltender Collin Krieg had an easy day at the office. The freshman fielded just 22 shots on goal, 13 of which he shut down.

The lone offensive brightspot for the ‘Cuse was Tucker Dordevic. The redshirt sophomore put up four goals, tying his seasonal best. 

“I just happened to be the beneficiary of good offense,” said the midfielder. “We were running what we were told to, and it was working.”

Syracuse midfielder Tucker Dordevic fights off UNC’s Connor Maher for his second goal.

Dordevic is now up to 18 goals on the year, surpassing his previous ceiling of 15 in 2018. However, the effort was too little, too late.

The Orange have now dropped three of their last four contests, and are in desperate need of momentum heading into the NCAA tournament. The bad news: their last two regular season opponents are both in Inside Lacrosse’s Top 3.

Next Saturday, Syracuse looks to flip the script against #9 Virginia. The Orange have already beaten the Cavaliers this season, 20-10 in the Dome. This time, they’ll be on the road. 

Tune in to WAER for Countdown to Faceoff at 11:30, with opening draw at noon.