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SU Men’s Lacrosse Suffers A Gut-Wrenching Loss to No. 15 UNC

SU attackers huddle after taking the lead in the fourth quarter.
SU attackers huddle after taking the lead in the fourth quarter.

After falling to Cornell in overtime on Monday, SU men’s lacrosse experienced slight deja vu down in Chapel Hill Saturday. No. 15 North Carolina defeated Syracuse 14-13. The two squads were tied with just 15 seconds left when the Tar Heels ripped the game out of the Orange’s hands, thanks to UNC attackman Chris Gray and his five-goal game.

SU came out hot in the first minute of the matchup, bringing glimmer of hope for the Orange. Senior Jacob Buttermore ripped a shot past UNC goalie Collin Krieg after just 45 seconds. However, that hot start was certainly brief.

All season, Syracuse has had a tough time outperforming its opponents in the early going. SU averages just three goals in the first quarter. Despite Buttermore’s quick first goal of the game, the Orange continued to play under that typical pattern, going scoreless in the next 14:15.

Following Syracuse’s only goal in the first, North Carolina responded with five. The rest of the half, however, presented a switch in the roles. UNC only tallied on one more goal in the second quarter, whereas SU narrowed in on the Tar Heels’ lead. The Orange were down just 6-5 at the half.

SU’s Tucker Dordevic accounted for half of the team’s second quarter goals, surpassing 40 goals of the season. Throughout the rest of the day, the fifth year tallied four total points.

Tucker Dordevic (23) winds up to break UNC's 5-0 first half run.
Tucker Dordevic (23) winds up to break UNC's 5-0 first half run.

On the defensive end , Syracuse goalie Bobby Gavin struggled in the first half. The sophomore only made one save and allowed six goals. SU’s backup Harrison Thompson entered the game for the first eight minutes of the second half, but Gavin finished it off. Gavin ended the day with a save percentage of nearly 23%.

SU’s ability to control a strong offensive UNC team primarily came from the Tar Heels’ mistakes. Especially in the second half, North Carolina’s sloppiness was something Syracuse took advantage of to stay in the game. UNC committed 13 turnovers in the second half and gave up two minutes of penalty time in the last quarter.

In that final quarter is where the real scoring action for both sides came into full speed. The two teams entered the last 15 minutes with a UNC lead of 10-8.

Syracuse scored five goals in the fourth, and North Carolina was right there with four goals. It wasn’t until two minutes left when the Orange pulled through with their first lead of the matchup since 1-0. However, UNC responded with finality. Lance Tillman tied the game with a minute left, and Chris Gray stung the game winner in the final seconds.

With another SU heartbreaker, the Orange fall to 4-8 in the season and continue a four game losing streak. Things won’t get much easier for Syracuse as it challenges sixth-ranked Virginia next Saturday at 4:00 p.m. WAER’s coverage of two orange and navy squads begins at 3:30 with GZA Countdown to Faceoff.