Riding a nine-game win streak entering Saturday’s home game vs. No. 11 Syracuse, the second-ranked UNC women’s lacrosse team appeared to be cruising into postseason play with a great shot at repeating as national champions.
The Orange offered a huge wake-up call, however, as they defeated the Tar Heels 13-11 on UNC’s senior day.
Emily Hawryschuk led the charge with four goals for Syracuse (12-4, 5-1 ACC), which earned a critical tiebreaker over UNC (12-2, 5-1 ACC) for the conference regular season championship.
The Tar Heels fell behind right from the get-go, as they allowed the Orange to score four consecutive goals during the game’s first ten minutes.
Syracuse also put together a stretch during the second half where it scored six out of seven goals–stretching the lead to five, which was the largest margin of the afternoon.
Senior attacker Molly Hendrick scored two of her team-high three goals for UNC during the final three minutes as the home side desperately searched for a comeback.
Marie McCool added another Tar Heel goal with 51 seconds remaining, but the outcome of the game was pretty much locked up by that point.
UNC also received two goals apiece from Sammy Jo Tracy and Ela Hazar throughout the day, however the Tar Heels struggled to solve Syracuse goalie Asa Goldstock–who stopped 12 of the 23 shots fired on target.
Despite posting 23 shots on goal–compared to Syracuse having just 18–UNC was unable to get the same type of performance from its own goalie, Caylee Waters.
Waters recorded just five saves, as the Orange continually created solid chances around the net.
The Tar Heels will now have to regroup before its final regular season game of the year, next Saturday against Duke.
Only a win vs. the Blue Devils–paired with a Syracuse loss–can give head coach Jenny Levy’s team the ACC regular season title.