No. 2 seed Syracuse women's lacrosse takes on No. 3 seed North Carolina in ACC semifinals
Following a 14-12 win over No. 7 seed Virginia Tech in the first round, No. 2 seed Syracuse women's lacrosse (16-1, 8-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) advanced to play No. 3 seed North Carolina (13-3, 7-2 ACC) in the ACC conference semifinals from Charlotte, North Carolina. This is the second matchup between the two squads in less than two weeks, as SU took the first meeting 14-12 in Chapel Hill, ending UNC's 41-game home winning streak.
In game one, the Tar Heels struck first on a goal by Melissa Sconone just over a minute in. Emma Tyrrell and Maddy Baxter responded for the Orange, combining for the following three scores. Still in the first quarter, Emma beat North Carolina's goalie, Alecia Nicholas, for a hat trick goal to make it 5-2 SU after 15 minutes. Both teams traded punches throughout the second, but the visitors led by 8-6 at halftime.
Tied with four minutes to play, Emma drove towards the cage and dished a pass to Megan Carney. The graduate student shot faked to the right, then fired a shot past the stick of Nicholas to take the lead. Emma added her game-leading fourth goal moments after, and Syracuse advanced to 15-0.
Even though the Orange came out on top, the Tar Heels held an 18-12 advantage on the draw. Olivia Adamson and Katie Goodale were primarily at the draw for SU but were easily handled in the first half by UNC's Alyssa Long and Olivia Dirks, controlling 11 of the first 16 attempts. The Orange tied 7-7 on the draw, and goalkeeper Delaney Sweitzer's career-high 15 saves prevented North Carolina from gaining any momentum.
Opening as the preseason No. 1 team, UNC started 7-0 before losing three games in the regular season, each by four goals or less. Sitting at No. 6 in the country and the No. 3 seed in the ACC Tournament, the Tar Heels beat up on No. 6 seed Clemson, 16-6, on Wednesday night.
Midfielder Nicole Humphrey and attack Caroline Godine each tallied hat tricks in North Carolina's quarterfinal win over the Tigers. The two also combined for five goals in their game against Syracuse. Other key contributors include attackers Caitlyn Wurzburger and Reilly Casey, who sit atop the team's leaderboard with 57 points each.
With possessions at a premium, Adamson's success on the draw for SU will be a deciding factor in the semifinal match. In addition to its draw control success, the Tar Heels average the fewest offensive turnovers per game in the country (9.35). While Syracuse forces the fourth-most turnovers per game defensively in the ACC (7.62), it turns the ball over much more frequently per game (12.44) than UNC.
The opening draw against North Carolina is set for 3:30 p.m. and will immediately follow the conclusion of the other semifinal match, No. 1 seed Boston College versus No. 5 seed Notre Dame.