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The Daily Tar Heel

North Carolina women's lacrosse defeated by No. 1 Syracuse in first home loss since 2019

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UNC senior midfielder Nicole Humphrey (9) storms down the field with the ball during the women's lacrosse game against Syracuse at Dorrance Field on Saturday, April 15, 2023.

The No. 5 North Carolina women’s lacrosse team (11-3, 6-2 ACC) fell to No. 1 Syracuse (15-0, 8-0 ACC), 14-12, at Dorrance Field Saturday in Chapel Hill.

What happened?

Senior Tar Heels attacker Melissa Sconone opened the scoring on senior day. Her short-range goal was assisted by first-year attacker Caroline Godine. 

The Orange responded quickly with goals from midfielder Emma Tyrrell, midfielder Maddy Baxter and then another from Emma Tyrrell. UNC senior attacker Nicole Humphrey halted the run with a goal assisted by junior attacker Caitlyn Wurzburger.

The Orange advantage was two once more when junior midfielder Natalie Smith scored a goal assisted by attacker Meaghan Tyrrell. Meaghan Tyrrell then found Emma Tyrrell, who spun away from a Tar Heels defender and rippled the net. The Tar Heels squandered two man-up opportunities in the first quarter, and the Orange led 5-2 after 15 minutes.

UNC struck first in the second when Humphrey doubled her goal tally. But the Orange were relentless. Goals 22 seconds apart by midfielder Savannah Sweitzer and attacker Megan Carney stretched the Syracuse lead to four.

Godine and Smith traded unassisted goals midway through the quarter. UNC junior midfielder Alyssa Long kept the Tar Heels in touch when she dashed to the cage for a free-position goal. 

The Tar Heels struggled to beat Syracuse goalkeeper Delaney Sweitzer late in the half, but UNC first-year attacker Marissa White found a way through in the final minute to trim the Orange advantage to just two at halftime. 

Both teams slowed the pace and looked solid defensively to begin the second half. Six minutes ticked off the clock before Godine rifled past Sweitzer to get UNC within one. 

Midway through the frame, Long sprinted the length of the field before finding Wurzburger who tied the score at eight. 

Meaghan Tyrrell stopped the Tar Heels run of four unanswered goals when she fired past UNC sophomore goalkeeper Alecia Nicholas to retake the lead for Syracuse. But the Tar Heels answered when Humphrey completed her hat trick assisted by Wurzburger. 

Syracuse finished the quarter strong, however, with goals from attacker Olivia Adamson and Smith. The Orange took a two goal lead into the fourth.

UNC scored the all important first goal in the fourth quarter. Wurzburger assisted sophomore attacker Reilly Casey who sent the ball past Delaney Sweitzer. With just under nine to play, Long took advantage of a free-position opportunity. She dashed to the cage, dodging defenders and tied the game.

The Orange retook the lead with just under six to play through Meaghan Tyrrell. But the Tar Heels just wouldn't go away. Casey answered, assisted by Godine.

With just under four to play, Carney found herself open after a pass from Emma Tyrrell. She beat Nicholas and edged Syracuse in front. Emma Tyrrell scored the dagger with 1:12 on the clock. The Tar Heels couldn’t find their way back, and the Orange emerged victorious by a 14-12 scoreline.

Who stood out?

While the Tar Heels outshot the Orange 35-25, Delaney Sweitzer was tough to beat in the Syracuse net all afternoon recording 15 saves. Emma Tyrrell and Smith both scored hat tricks for the Orange and Meaghan Tyrrell assisted on four Syracuse goals.

For the Tar Heels, Humphrey recorded a hat trick and Godine contributed six points. Wurzburger assisted on three UNC goals and Long added three points of her own. 

When was it decided?

Syracuse built a four-goal lead in the second quarter, but the Tar Heels battled back and tied the game midway through the third. It was back and forth from there until Carney scored the game-winning goal and Emma Tyrrell washed away any doubt.

Why does it matter?

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The result snaps UNC’s 41-game home win streak dating back to 2019. 

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels travel to Durham to play Tobacco Road rival Duke on Thursday, April 20 at 5:30 p.m.

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com