A quick take on Syracuse’s impressive 10-7 win over North Carolina in the ACC semifinals Friday night at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw, Georgia:
WHAT HAPPENED: On a warm, low 80 degree evening in suburban Atlanta, the ‘Cuse (9-4) beat the Tar Heels for the second time in 13 days. SU raced out to a 6-1 lead, and after a slight lapse in the second quarter, controlled the tempo in the second half to wear down the Heels (8-6) and win going away by outscoring UNC 4-3 in the second half.
ANALYSIS: After taking an early five goal lead thanks to winning faceoffs by Ben Williams (12 of 21) and some nifty passing, the Orange, playing three midfield units to stay fresh, spread out the offense with seven different players scoring goals led by Nate Solomon, Jordan Evans, and Derek DeJoe each scoring twice. SU won its 37th straight game when holding its opponent under 10 goals.
HEROES: Goalie Evan Molloy and the Orange defense was excellent throughout the evening, shutting out UNC in the first and third quarters, holding the Tar Heels to just seven goals after they scored 17 in knocking off then-No, 1 Notre Dame six days ago. Molloy finished with 14 saves.
ZERO: A lapse in the faceoff battle and a few mental mistakes in the second and fourth quarters got North Carolina back in the game as they trailed by two goals at halftime, then rallied to trail by three with just under 5:00 to play before SU held on.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse moves on to the ACC championship game for the third straight season Sunday afternoon, May 1, taking on the No. 3 Seed Duke. The Blue Devils (10-6) rallied to beat Notre Dame in Friday’s second semifinal 10-9 in OT. The Orange lost to Duke 16-15 in OT during the regular season, blowing a large fourth quarter lead. Game Time: 12:00 p.m. ET / TV: ESPNU.