No. 5 North Carolina routed No. 9 Syracuse in Saturday, 21-9, as the Tar Heels started the game on a 5-0 run and led comfortably the entire afternoon.
“I thought Carolina came to play, they did a great job,” Syracuse head coach John Desko said. “We didn’t play with the poise we needed to play with, especially early to get more possessions to our offense.”
Syracuse’s previous losses this season were directly correlated with its struggles on the X, such as in losses to No. 2 Duke and No. 9 Notre Dame, where the Orange went a combined 17 for 47 (.367). While the Tar Heels did edge the Orange in faceoffs (19-34), SU struggles in other areas were conspicuous.
Syracuse had 14 turnovers and and was outshot 58-38, including a -15 margin on shots on goal.
“With the faceoffs,” Desko said, “what’s disappointing is the faceoff guys started to get that ball themselves and then the decisions we made afterwards really killed us.”
UNC jumped out to a 9-1 lead after Brian Cameron’s unassisted goal with 11:21 to go in the first half. A pair of Tucker Dordevic goals would make it 10-4, but the Orange couldn’t get any closer.
“We couldn’t clear the ball,” Desko said. “We had been clearing the ball pretty well against the 10 man all year and today we didn’t.”
Connor McCarthy’s hat trick led UNC, while Dordevic scored four to lead all scorers.
The path to an NCAA bid gets no easier for Syracuse, as they finish the regular season on the road against No. 3 Virginia on Saturday, followed by a May 1 date at No. 2 Notre Dame.
Said Desko: “We’ve got to turn it around, know our next opponent, rise to the occasion and play a lot smarter lacrosse than we played today.”