Syracuse will play in the first semifinal of the ACC Tournament on Friday at 6 p.m. in Kennesaw, Ga. Here is a quick preview of the game:
NOT SINCE THE 90s: North Carolina comes into Friday’s matchup against the Orange with plenty of momentum. Over the weekend, the Tar Heels stunned No. 1 Notre Dame, erasing a five-goal fourth quarter deficit with under 10 minutes left to win, 17-15. UNC scored the final seven goals of the game to capture the top overall seed in the ACC Tournament. It’s been a banner season for North Carolina, which is the No. 1 seed for the first time since 1996, and won a share of the ACC regular season championship for the first time since 2013.
SCOUTING THE TAR HEELS: The Tar Heels had five players receiving All-ACC recognition, highlighted by senior attackman Steve Pontrello. A converted midfielder, Pontrello exploded this season, finishing with a team-high 36 goals and also added 12 assists, good for second on the team. Faceoff specialist Stephen Kelly also received honors after winning 184 of 309 draws (59.5 percent). His 184 wins places him third all-time in North Carolina history. Midfielder Jack Matthai has been part of an excellent defensive unit, and he has collected 18 ground balls this season.
HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: Syracuse leads the all-time series 14-7, with its most recent win coming earlier this month in a 13-7 win for the Orange. It was one of SU’s best games of the season, with Dylan Donahue and Sergio Salcido each notching five points. Ben Williams was also stellar against Kelly, winning 16 of 24 at the X.
GAME INFORMATION: Friday, April 29 at 6:00 p.m. in Kennesaw, Ga. TV: ESPNU.