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UNC 16 - Syracuse 15: Orange come back from a nine point halftime deficit to fall short in ACC Semis

The Syracuse Orange made an incredible comeback on Friday night but fell just short with seconds to go.

NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Syracuse Orange fell to the North Carolina Tar Heels in the ACC Semifinals. Yes, Syracuse lost, but that’s not really the story.

Just to preface, for some reason I have every sports channel except for ESPNEWS so I will get to watch the game later this weekend and try and bring back some real analysis.

After getting the first goal of the game off of the crosse of Jamie Trimboli, Syracuse was unable to get another tally in the first period. The Orange did, however, allow four straight through the rest of the first.

UNC put up back-to-back goals to start the second period before Peter Dearth finally stopped the bleeding to make the score 6-2 UNC. Trimboli and Stephen Rehfuss added two more but Syracuse managed to give up a total of NINE GOALS(!!!) in the second period. Second quarters have not been good to SU this year, but this was certainly the worst we’ve seen yet.

Heading into the halftime, the Orange found itself down 13-4. It was a hole that appeared too deep to climb out of. Yet, just 23 seconds into the second half it was Sergio Salcido to Brendan Bomberry to cut the Carolina lead to eight. In total, SU put up eight goals in the third period, all of them unanswered. An 8-0 run against a team like North Carolina is nothing to sneeze at.

Somehow, this Syracuse team which was down by nine at half found itself within one goal of UNC heading into the fourth period. One of the most impressive comebacks in college lacrosse that I can remember.

Finally with 10:58 to go in the game, Tanner Cook put away Carolina’s first goal in 19:07 of play. Matt Lane was able to counter with a goal of his own about two minutes later, the assist coming from Jordan Evans who had an unreal six assists along with a goal.

With the Orange down one, the Heels buried back-to-back goals to give themselves a 16-13 lead. Syracuse made a push with a goal from Sergio Salcido with just over four minutes remaining. With 1:16 left in the game UNC’s Timmy Kelly took a one minute cross-checking penalty, giving SU an extra-man opportunity which Brendan Bomberry capitalized on with 27 seconds to go.

Unlike so many one-goal games before, however, the Orange could not find that game tying goal and SU fell 16-15 to UNC.

Nick Mariano and Sergio Salcido were the only two Syracuse players with hattys today but B. Bomberry and Jamie Trimboli each had a pair of tallys. Although Evans had a season high in assists, he fell one short of his season high points.

A lot of credit needs to go to Ben Williams. Williams went 1-6 in the first quarter and 5-15 in the first half. At one point Desko gave Danny Varello a look but the backup went 0-3. The veteran Williams went back in for the second half and grabbed eight of nine in the third and finishing 16-31 for the game. After losing 10 in the first half this kid came back and won 11 of 16 in the second, incredible.

The North Carolina Tar Heels needed to win, and they will need to win again on Sunday to even be eligible for the NCAA Tournament. Even if they do take home the ACC Championship, their NCAA Tournament status will still be up in the air.

As for the Orange, I don’t believe they will get the overall number one seed anymore, but everything is so dependent on how the Big Ten shakes out that it is hard to say where they will land.