Syracuse men’s lacrosse opponent preview: What to know about No. 4 seed North Carolina

first_img Published on April 28, 2017 at 12:51 am Contact Charlie: [email protected] | @charliedisturco Top-ranked Syracuse (11-1, 4-0 Atlantic Coast) will look for its second win in as many weeks against No. 4 seed North Carolina (6-7, 1-3) on Friday in the opening game of the ACC tournament. SU looks to win its third consecutive conference tournament and enters the matchup on a nine-game win streak.The Tar Heels have dropped six of their last eight and hope a win will boost the team’s chances at a spot in the NCAA tournament. UNC has dropped four straight and eight of the last nine against the Orange.Here’s what you need to know ahead of the game, which will air Friday at 6 p.m. on ESPNews.All-time series: Syracuse leads, 16-7Last time they played: Syracuse jumped out to an early 4-1 lead in the first quarter, but a 9-1 run propelled the Tar Heels to a five-goal lead in the middle of the third quarter. SU bounced back and finished the game on a 7-1 run, topped off with an overtime game-winner by Sergio Salcido to give SU the 12-11 victory.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“It was a battle of two runs,” UNC head coach Joe Breschi said. “They never wavered.”Paolo Ciferri scored a pair of goals, proving his dominance in transition offense. Salcido finished with a hat trick on five shots while Nick Mariano and Stephen Rehfuss each added two goals. Rehfuss, a redshirt freshman with zero starts to his name, also picked up two assists in the win and saved Syracuse from the near-upset a couple weeks back.Ben Williams won 15-of-25 at the X, including five of the last six faceoffs in the game. His overtime faceoff win set up Syracuse with a man-up opportunity that ended with a Salcido bullet.North Carolina’s offense was led by senior attack Luke Goldstock, who finished with three goals and three assists. His off-ball movement and UNC’s picks to force SU to slide led to open shots and him to take advantage of the Orange’s No. 3 defenseman Marcus Cunningham. Often times, Scott Firman, who’s been SU’s best defender, was stuck from a pick or forced to slide, creating that open space for Goldstock.Syracuse won in most statistical categories, going a perfect 13-for-13 on clears. SU won the ground ball game handedly (35-23), took more shots (41-37) and committed fewer turnovers (8-10).The North Carolina report: As mentioned two weeks ago, UNC lost its top offensive initiator Steve Pontrello to graduation. The Tar Heels reloaded with talent.Goldstock has given the Orange the most problems — most recently his six-point performance in Chapel Hill. He is one goal behind junior attack Chris Cloutier (25). The two lead the offense and are tied with a team-high 35 points. Cloutier had only one goal and one assist against SU.Leigh Ann Rodgers | Staff PhotographerDefensively, North Carolina revolves around senior Austin Pifani, who leads the team with 21 caused turnovers — 12 more than the next highest player. The “ring leader of the defense,” as Breschi put it a few weeks back, is among the nation’s best defensively. North Carolina could need more production out of its other longpoles and defensive midfielders to compete.How Syracuse beats UNC: North Carolina will likely try to follow a similar offensive game plan as it did two weeks ago. By forcing Firman to slide off Goldstock, the senior attack took advantage of Cunningham and dominated. Other times, he facilitated from behind the goal while Firman was on him (three assists). Chipping away at a large deficit is hard for any team to do and it’s unlikely that SU will be able to do it twice.After a weak performance against Binghamton, Williams could bounce back for SU to have a shot at winning. Much of the offense starts at the X and quick runs can put the game out of reach. Williams has success against UNC’s Stephen Kelly (he won 60 percent of faceoffs last matchup) and will need to replicate that performance come Friday. SU’s run to beat UNC was started by Williams at the X.Numbers to know: 6 — The number of points Goldstock had against the Orange two weeks ago.9 — Syracuse is entering the ACC tournament on a nine-game win streak, last losing on Feb. 25 against Army.8.33 — Syracuse’s balanced offense works the ball around for the right shot. The team’s 8.33 assists per game ranks sixth in the nation.3 — Syracuse is the longest-tenured No. 1 this season, now holding the spot for three weeks.Player to watch: Luke Goldstock, attack, No. 1The 6-foot-3, 205-pound senior dominated Syracuse last time the two teams played. He created opportunities through off-ball movement as well as picks set by the North Carolina offense. Goldstock is tied for the team lead in points and has proven to be both an efficient scorer (24 goals) and facilitator (11 assists, including three against SU). Goldstock is dodging more than usual and has used his strength to create open space. He torched SU once already this season and will be the center of attention for the Orange defense once again. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *