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Syracuse men’s lacrosse: Orange collapse late in 11-10 loss to North Carolina

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Syracuse was solid for 56 minutes before folding big time in the four.

Syracuse Athletics

Everything was looking good for the Syracuse Orange to get themselves ready for a Saturday afternoon tilt with the Virginia Cavaliers. Up 10-7 with four minutes to go, all Syracuse had to do was not let the North Carolina Tar Heels back in the game.

They let UNC back in it and also won altogether as the Tar Heels scored three goals in a 45 second span before potting the game-winner with 1:07 left in the game to deliver a stunning 11-10 win over the Orange.

Bradley Voigt led Syracuse with four goals and one assist, while Stephen Rehfuss added four assists. Jacob Buttermore had one of his best games of his career with a hat-trick and an assist. The Orange caused 10 turnovers in the loss, three coming from Nick Mellen, and Drake Porter made 12 stops in goal.

After making the ACC title game in their first three years in the conference and winning the entire thing in 2015 and 2016, it’s the third straight season Syracuse has been bounced out of the ACC Championship in their first game. The past two seasons were in the semifinals (when only four teams made it).

Scoring and Stats

NORTH CAROLINA

A Brian Cameron (2 Gs, 1 A, 3 GBs, 1 CT)
M William Perry (2 Gs, 1 A)
M Matt Gavin (2 Gs, 2 GBs)
A Nicky Solomon (1 G, 1 A, 1 GB, 1 CT)
M Justin Anderson (1 G, 1 A)
A Jacob Kelly (1 G, 1 GB, 1 CT)
M Tanner Cook (1 G)
M Timmy Kelly (1 A, 1 GB)

D Jake Peden (2 CTs, 2 GBs)
D Michael Nathan (1 CT, 2 GBs)
D Jack Rowlett (1 CT, 1 GB)
LSM Kevin Walker (1 CT)

FOGO Zac Tucci (10-of-19 FOs, 4 GBs, 1 G)
FOGO Ryan O’Connell (4-of-5 FOs, 4 GBs)
G Caton Johnson (11 saves)

SYRACUSE

A Bradley Voigt (4 Gs, 1 A)
A Stephen Rehfuss (4 As, 1 GB)
M Jacob Buttermore (3 Gs, 1 A)
M David Lipka (2 As, 1 GB)
A Nate Solomon (1 G, 3 GBs)
M Jamie Trimboli (1 G, 2 GBs)
M Brendan Curry (1 G)

D Nick Mellen (3 CTs, 2 GBs)
D Tyson Bomberry (2 CTs, 8 GBs)
SSDM Peter Dearth (2 CTs, 1 GB)
SSDM Andrew Helmer (2 CTs)
LSM Jared Fernandez (1 CT, 2 GBs)

FOGO Jake Phaup (9-of-19 FOs, 3 GBs)
FOGO Danny Varello (1-of-5 FOs)
G Drake Porter (12 saves, 2 GBs)

Notes and Nuggets

  • Let’s start right with the defensive collapse with four to play and go goal by goal. On the one that made it 10-8, Porter made the initial save (his 12th and final one) and tried to pass through two Tar Heel players to clear. The ball deflected off a stick and UNC maintained possession before Matt Gavin facedodged Brendan Curry behind the net and took advantage of Porter giving a little more room at the top of the net while he squatting down and hugging the post.
  • On the ensuing possession, Nicky Solomon was behind X with Peter Dearth guarding him. His pass to Brian Cameron was in the vicinity of three Orange defenders and Grant Murphy the closest to him. But a quick catch and shoot to the bottom of the near-side of the net gave the Heels a chance at tying on the next possession.
  • Which happened. And quick, like in only six seconds. Zac Tucci won a clean faceoff, got the ground ball, had plenty of room to fire a shot, and did so past Porter again on the near-side post, this time on the upper end of the net. After that, I’m not so sure why John Desko didn’t call a timeout.
  • A couple minutes past before the game-winner for Gavin. Just like his first goal, Gavin was behind the net, this time with Andrew Helmer on him. He went to his right before switching to his left, snuck between Helmer and Marcus Cunningham and hit the high near-side corner of the net for the goal inches away from Porter. After that goal, Desko did call his first timeout.
  • Throughout most of the game, UNC took some long, lengthy possessions to keep it a low-scoring game. That helped them stay in it against the Orange.
  • The faceoff battles were much more even than in the first meeting. Jake Phaup took the majority of them and won just less than 50%. Danny Varello went 1-of-5.
  • Once again, the Tar Heels double-poled the first midfield. Jamie Trimboli and Curry (sometimes Buttermore when Trimboli wasn’t on) both got long sticks, while Voigt got a SSDM.
  • This was a good hit.
  • The turnovers by both teams in the first half were a lot, nine each to be exact. For UNC, eight of them came in the first quarter. They only had eight for the remainder of the game.
  • I didn’t like the final play of the game, but I guess there wasn’t a ton to do. Rehfuss started on the far end of the field as UNC shut off any passing options. He ran around the crease with Jack Rowlett defending him. Rehfuss tried a question mark dodge and shot but Rowlett was all over him and time ran out. Buttermore was running in for what could have been a pass but he had a defender right behind him. Only thing that could have happened differently would be Voigt coming toward Rehfuss and setting a pick on Rowlett, perhaps giving Rehfuss a better matchup with the shortie.
  • UNC was 0-4 when opponents scored first entering the game. That changed.

What’s Next?

The Orange wait for Selection Sunday next Sunday at 9 PM on ESPNU. As of now, Syracuse could be hosting as a lower seed (think of what happened last season). The possibility of them not hosting is also greater with the loss. But results from what happens in the remainder of the season will play a role.

Even though they don’t matter anymore, expect the top 20 polls to come out on Monday. Syracuse should be in the 9-13 range.