Syracuse Rallies, Takes Down North Carolina
from press release
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – No. 1/2 Syracuse scored the final three goals to erase a one-goal deficit to defeat No. 4/4 North Carolina, 9-7, in the semifinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Women's Lacrosse Championship. The Orange advances to the title game where it will face No. 2/1 Maryland on Sunday, April 27 at 1 p.m.
Aly Messinger's goal at the 13:35 mark capped a 5-0 North Carolina (14-4) scoring run and gave the Tar Heels their first lead at 7-6. Sophomore Kayla Treanor (Niskayuna, N.Y.) tied the game when she came from around the left side of the net and put her shot in the back of the cage with 8:28 remaining. That goal was the Orange's (17-1) first goal of the half and ended a scoreless drought of more than 22 minutes.
Syracuse won the ensuing draw and senior Katie Webster (Syracuse, N.Y.) had a chance to give the Orange the lead, but Megan Ward made one of her 11 second-half saves on the play. Syracuse maintained possession and senior Amy Cross (Oreland, Pa.) took advantage when scored her fourth goal of the tournament at the 7:20 mark to give the Orange the lead for good. Syracuse again won the draw control and ran the clock down to 5:49 when Webster found the back of the net for her fourth goal of the day to give Syracuse a 9-7 advantage.
The Orange won its third consecutive draw, but a turnover in its offensive end gave North Carolina possession with 2:28 remaining. Maggie Bill got off a shot, but Orange goalkeeper Kelsey Richardson (Memphis, N.Y.) made the save and the Orange ran out the clock for its 11th consecutive victory.
As it has done in the past two games the Orange jumped out to an early lead. Treanor scored a wrap-around goal at the 25:03 mark to start the scoring. Junior Devon Collins (Rochester, N.Y.) followed with a goal when she took a pass from senior Alyssa Murray (West Babylon, N.Y.) from outside the top of the fan and put her shot in the back of the goal. Murray then scored on an assist from Treanor and Webster followed with an unassisted goal to give Syracuse a 4-0 lead with 18:33 remaining. Molly Hendrick converted a free position attempt at the 12:51 mark to put North Carolina on the scoreboard before Webster scored two more times, the second coming on an assist from Murray with 20 seconds on the clock, to give the Orange a 6-2 halftime lead.
North Carolina came back in the second half. Carly Davis scored on a free position attempt at the 27:12 mark, which sparked the Tar Heels on a 5-0 run, that gave North Carolina its first lead of the game. Messinger assisted on the game-tying goal by Taylor George and then gave the Tar Heels a 7-6 lead with an unassisted goal. That would be North Carolina's final tally of the game as the Orange scored three times in the final 13:35 for the come-from-behind win.
"It's an incredible win for the Syracuse women's lacrosse team today," said Orange head coach Gary Gait. "We got off to a fast start. The first half was the best I've seen our defense play the whole year. I thought our goaltending was strong today. We rallied when they came back to go ahead. We showed a lot of character by not panicking and sticking together and going ahead and making that final three-goal run to take the game. I thought it was a great team effort."
Senior Kasey Mock (Pottstown, Pa.) anchored Syracuse's defense, causing a career-high four turnovers and tying her personal best with five ground balls. Junior Mallory Vehar (Hudson, Ohio) also tied her career high with five ground balls. Richardson tied her career high with nine saves as the Orange shut out the Tar Heels for the final 13:35. Syracuse held North Carolina's leading scorer, Abbey Friend, to no goals on just three shots.
Webster finished with a season-high four goals and moved into seventh place on Syracuse's all-time goals scored list with 130 in her career. Treanor had three points (2g, 1a), while Murray finished with a goal and two assists.
Syracuse outshot North Carolina, 29-19, and picked up 22 ground balls to 15 for the Tar Heels. The squads split the draw controls with each team winning nine.
The Orange gets a chance to avenge its only loss of the season when it takes on No. 2/1 Maryland on Sunday at 1 p.m. in the championship game.
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