The No. 6 North Carolina women’s lacrosse team (14-3, 8-2 ACC) defeated the No. 2 Syracuse Orange (16-2, 8-2) 15-9 at American Legion Memorial Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., on Friday afternoon, sending the Tar Heels to the ACC championship game.
After the Orange nearly scored in the opening seconds, the Tar Heels got out and running, scoring on a 2-on-1 break. Senior attacker Melissa Sconone scored the first goal of the day for UNC off an assist from junior attacker Caitlyn Wurzburger.
The only Tar Heel to score in each game this season, first-year attacker Marissa White, continued a dominant first season with a goal on a free position to give UNC a 2-0 lead less than two minutes into the game. UNC's third goal came from redshirt sophomore attacker Reilly Casey.
After struggling to put away Virginia Tech in the quarterfinals, Syracuse continued its downward trajectory as the Tar Heels got off to a quick start.
UNC’s defense was locked in, making it difficult for Syracuse to get looks early. The Orange struggled to keep possession, and the Tar Heels took advantage. White drove in her second goal of the first quarter as UNC’s lead grew to 4-0.
First-year attacker Caroline Godine wrapped around the cage and extended the lead to five as UNC continued to stifle one of the nation’s top teams. The five-point deficit was the largest the Orange had faced all season.
And then five became six. A pass over the top of the net from Wurzburger found Godine right in front of the crease as she sent it in with just under 20 seconds in the first quarter. UNC closed the first 15 minutes up 6-0.
White claimed a hat trick in the opening minutes of the second quarter, and Sconone claimed her second goal of the day as the Tar Heels’ lead continued to grow. Finally, Syracuse got on the board about mid-way through the second quarter. The goal from the Orange cut the UNC lead to seven.