The No. 5 North Carolina women’s lacrosse team used a strong second-half surge to defeat No. 15 Syracuse, 20-11, on Saturday in Syracuse, N.Y.
The Tar Heels (11-3, 5-1 ACC) scored first — a little over 30 seconds into the contest — with a goal from senior midfielder Maggie Bill, assisted by senior attacker Ela Hazar. Syracuse responded less than two minutes later with a goal of its own. However, Bill scored again on an unassisted goal with 26:12 remaining in the opening half.
Bill’s second goal of the game was followed by an unassisted goal from senior midfielder Marie McCool to give UNC a 3-1 advantage about four minutes into the first half.
The Orange struck back in the next minute on a goal from sophomore attacker Emily Hawryschuk. But the Tar Heels scored back-to-back goals yet again — both unassisted, from McCool and junior midfielder Kara Klages.
Down 5-2, Syracuse found the back of the net twice, for its own pair of goals. But UNC had the answer. Hazar scored on an assist from sophomore attacker Katie Hoeg, then Hazar facilitated Klages for her second goal of the first half.
UNC and Syracuse traded goals in the final minutes of the half, and the Tar Heels held an 8-5 lead going into the final 30 minutes of play.
Syracuse scored first in the second half to cut its deficit to two goals, but that was the closest the Orange would get. The Tar Heels jumped to an 11-6 lead by scoring three goals in less than one minute — the first from Klages on an assist from McCool, the second from first-year attacker Jamie Ortega on an assist from Hoeg, and the third an unassisted goal by McCool.
Everytime the Orange would score once, the Tar Heels would score consecutive goals. UNC went on a 4-2 run in the final 14:33 to finish the game with a 20-11 victory.
Who stood out?
North Carolina put on an offensive showcase as seven different Tar Heels found the back of the net. Klages stood out the most, though. The Bel Air, Md., native destroyed her previous career-high of two goals with five in the contest.
McCool also had a standout performance, finishing with five goals and one assist.
When was it decided?
UNC only led by three at halftime, but the Tar Heels broke the game open early in the second half. After the 26:04 mark in the second half, the Orange got no closer than four goals to the Tar Heels.
Why does it matter?
With the win, UNC improved to 5-1 in ACC play. The Tar Heels sit in second-place in the conference, behind undefeated Boston College.
When do they play next?
North Carolina stayed in Syracuse and defeated Caniscus College, 22-3, on Sunday at 11 a.m. The Tar Heels will face archrival Duke in their regular-season finale in Chapel Hill on Saturday.
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