No. 4 Syracuse squanders chances in 12-11 loss to No. 3 North Carolina

first_img Published on April 16, 2016 at 4:33 pm Contact Sam: [email protected] | @Sam4TR Facebook Twitter Google+ In a game that would decide first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Syracuse had to push the ball 100 yards down the field in 36 seconds with a player disadvantage and score on a goalie that had frozen out a once red-hot Syracuse offense in the second half.The Orange had finally regained possession for the first time in almost six full minutes after North Carolina had sprinted back and forth across the offensive zone without even pretending to look for a shot, hoping to run out the clock on its one-goal lead.“It’s definitely frustrating,” defender Mallory Vehar said of watching the Tar Heels stall away the last minutes.The shot clock will be introduced to women’s lacrosse next year, but it wouldn’t appear in time to help Syracuse.Goalkeeper Allie Murray restarted her team’s last gasp. Murray passed to Natalie Wallon and a UNC double-team immediately sandwiched the freshman. Wallon committed a fate-sealing turnover with 21 seconds left.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Orange didn’t get the ball to midfield.Syracuse had its chances. It could’ve taken advantage of the second-half goalie change to extend its winning streak to six. It could’ve held on to either of its three-goal leads to seize first place in the conference. It could have kept alive its unbeaten streak when playing UNC in the Carrier Dome. But it didn’t.No. 4 Syracuse (12-4, 4-2 ACC) lost, 12-11, to No. 3 North Carolina (12-2, 6-0) and precedent couldn’t overcome squandered opportunities as the Orange watched the Tar Heels literally run away in the final moments.“It’s a fine line (when to) start pressing out,” head coach Gary Gait said of a stalling team. “Do you wait to see if they go a little bit early? Sometimes when that happens you give up opportunities and be down two again. But (we forced) the turnover and … got ‘em right there, with 36 seconds left. The pass has been there to get the ball up but we just turned around and throughout the day we just kept giving the ball back.”Syracuse had started hot, erasing a two-goal deficit and grabbing a 7-4 lead with four minutes to go in the first half.SU played so well that North Carolina removed the reigning goalie of the year, Caylee Waters, and replaced her with Megan Ward. Waters hadn’t been able to slow the Orange’s 12th-best offense, recording two saves and allowing eight first-half goals. But Ward, time and again in the second half, made athletic saves on the point-blank shots to hold the Orange off the board. She finished with three goals allowed and seven saves.Near the end of the first half, the pacified UNC offense hadn’t scored in more than 20 minutes and the Orange seemed poised to take the lead into halftime.But then UNC role players Carly Reed and Ela Hazar broke through for two goals in the final 51 seconds to make it a one-goal game at half.As both teams rushed from the field, SU assistant coach Regy Thorpe gathered four defenders and Murray around the net. The group held up a team of local kids playing a scrimmage at halftime while Thorpe demonstrated how to stop UNC from curling an attacker near the cage and passing to a cutter.“They had scored twice on (that play),” Murray said. “We (tried) to make some changes to fix that.”UNC didn’t score on the same play in the second half, but found various ways to put five goals in the back of the net, a microcosm of the defense’s larger problem on Saturday.The defense held the ACC’s top scorer, Molly Hendrick, without a point. But at the same time it allowed a hat trick to Reed, who entered the game with eight goals in 11 games.“That’s the way you play, right?” Gait said. “… You put it on the shoulders of their (not best) players and they make some plays.”In a day of opportunity — the goalie change, the leads, the adjustment — Syracuse couldn’t take advantage. Commentslast_img

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