Syracuse’s NCAA tournament hopes hang in balance after being crushed by North Carolina

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ On March 14, 1998, Syracuse played Maryland in the first Division I women’s lacrosse game for SU. The Orange allowed 21 goals, the most it has ever given up. In the 397 ensuing games for Syracuse since, that’s happened on just one more occasion: Boston College’s win to knock Syracuse out of last year’s NCAA tournament. That was until Thursday.No. 19 Syracuse (9-9, 1-6 Atlantic Coast) fell to No. 5 North Carolina (13-3, 6-1), 21-12, in the first round of the ACC tournament in Durham, N.C. UNC’s eight-goal margin at the end of the first half was simply too much for the Orange to overcome. A bubble team heading into the conference tournament, SU will have to wait more than a week to find out its NCAA tournament fate.“They’re a very good team, they rode hard,” SU head coach Gary Gait said. “They hustled their butts off and made some plays.”UNC had frequent opportunities. The Tar Heels had tallied 29 shots, including 23 on goal, where Syracuse starting goalie Asa Goldstock lasted just more than six minutes, allowing seven goals, before being pulled. If not for stellar play from SU freshman Hannah Van Middelem in goal, including multiple saves that came off of point-blank shots and nine total first-half saves, the Orange could have trailed by an even wider margin at halftime. “We know (Van Middelem’s) a great young goalie,” Gait said. “Asa (Goldstock’s) been playing well, though, so she hasn’t been able to play much.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFive players scored for the Tar Heels in the first half, all with at least two goals. Ela Hazar put up a hat trick and three assists, and Jamie Ortega added her own hat trick. UNC dominated the first half draw, 13-8. The Tar Heels caused nine first-half turnovers by SU, compared to zero caused by the Orange. The rout was on from the opening whistle.“They got after it early,” Gait said. “And again, we couldn’t clear the ball. Made a lot of mistakes, lot of turnovers. And you give a team like that to play offense, they’re going to score goals, and they did.”UNC scored the game’s first three goals before Syracuse could notch one. Then, the next four went to North Carolina as well, before SU added its second. Four more to the Tar Heels, and the game was 10-2 in favor of UNC less than 16 minutes in. Even with the Orange scoring four of the next five goals, that deficit was insurmountable. In the second half, the Tar Heels kept on coming. Ortega finished with six goals. UNC’s goalies combined to save eight of SU’s 20 shots on goal, plenty to back up a powerful offensive showing. SU’s only form of life on offense came from Emily Hawryschuk, who finished with five goals to push her to 54 for the season. The sophomore scored the first goal of the second half to try to give the Orange life. But what was still a seven-goal deficit then never got closer.“We scored on a decent number of our opportunities,” Gait said. “… We just didn’t get many shots.”After Syracuse’s last regular season game — a win over Louisville on Sunday — SU head coach Gary Gait thought back to the Orange’s regular-season matchup with North Carolina a few weeks ago. Syracuse lost by nine goals in the Carrier Dome with what, Gait said, was “flat” play right from the outset. The Orange had scored the final 11 goals of its Senior Day game. But Gait warned that on Thursday against UNC, it would be a new game and that he hoped SU would avoid coming out flat. Unfortunately for the Orange, the result wouldn’t be any different.Now, all Syracuse can do is wait. The NCAA tournament selection show was on May 7 last year, more than a week away, although the NCAA hasn’t updated the date for this year’s selection. Regardless, SU can’t make any more statements on the field. “We wait a week, get ready, and see what happens,” Gait said. “… Try and make sure we’re ready and if we get a chance to play in the tournament, we’re ready and we get a better result than we did here today.” Comments Published on April 26, 2018 at 8:16 pm Contact Billy: | @Wheyen3last_img

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