OLNEY, Md. – With 12 seconds to go, North Carolina men’s lacrosse’s hopes of escaping Maryland with a win were scrapped.
A dodge from Syracuse midfielder Michael Leo past the lunging body UNC senior defender Matt Wright and a diving shot into the crease secured the 15-14 win for Syracuse on Saturday at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School.
It wasn’t meant to go this way.
For eight players on the men’s lacrosse roster, it was meant to be a trip back home to Maryland. For the coaching staff, it was meant to be a showcase of what the program has to offer in an area seething with lacrosse talent.
Instead, it was just another game that added to the team's recent skid.
Less than two months ago, North Carolina boasted a 3-1 record and was coming off a 19-13 win over the Orange. Since then, the Tar Heels have lost four of their last eight games and now find themselves on the bubble of making the NCAA Tournament.
To add to the growing list of disappointment, the Tar Heels largely dominated the Orange on Saturday and put themselves in a good position to win the game. But instead, they were on the wrong side of the result.
Despite winning 22 of the 32 face offs and outshooting Syracuse 50-36, the loss left the Tar Heels with a bitter taste.
“They didn’t shoot the ball well in the second half, and they should’ve been leading by more than a handful of goals early,” ESPN lacrosse analyst Quint Kessenich said. “They dominated play the first 25 minutes of the game, yet they only led by two goals (at halftime).”