No. 16 Syracuse’s offense fails to keep pace with No. 5 North Carolina in 20-11 loss

first_imgOnly five times in Syracuse’s program history has it allowed 20 goals. But it did on Saturday, and the Orange’s offense needed to turn out a herculean effort to stay in the game.But as has been the case in all of its conference games this season, SU’s offense provided nothing extraordinary.“We didn’t show up today and deliver our best game, our best performance,” SU head coach Gary Gait said.No. 16 Syracuse (8-7, 0-5 Atlantic Coast) couldn’t win enough draws to get a lot of offensive chances on Saturday and the chances the Orange had were often squandered. For the fourth game in a row, SU’s season-scoring average was lowered and it meant No. 5 North Carolina (10-3, 5-1) pulled away and won easily, 20-11, in the Carrier Dome.The problems started at the draw, as they so often have for SU this season. Emily Hawryschuk, an attack who began taking collegiate draws in games on March 29, took 27-of-33 draw attempts for the Orange. Between Hawryschuk and Julie Cross, who took the other six, the Orange won 10 of 33.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“They were in our heads,” Gait said of UNC’s draws in the second half. “They had the chemistry flowing on the draw. They just dominated.”The lost draws forced SU to defend for long stretches at a time. But when SU won the draw or took possession after one of UNC’s 12 turnovers, it couldn’t capitalize. The Orange turned just 11 of its 27 shots into goals, dropping SU’s conference scoring average to 12.2 goals per game, compared to 16 per game out of conference.In a repeat of Duke’s defensive plan, the Tar Heels face-guarded Nicole Levy for much of the game’s 60 minutes. Postgame, Gait said, “I don’t know if that was an issue,” citing other problems as more major than whether or not Levy touched the ball. But Levy, even after a very cold stretch, ranks second on SU with 34 goals. And she touched the ball no more than a handful of times Saturday, as North Carolina successfully took SU’s sniper out of the equation.For a few moments early in the second half, SU’s offense looked like it’d have a shot to redeem itself. Hawryschuk scored less than two minutes into the frame to bring the Orange within two goals.But then, UNC won a draw and scored. The Tar Heels won the next draw and scored, again. And UNC won the next draw as well, following it up quickly with another goal. A two-goal lead exploded to five. The Orange never got closer than four goals from that point on.“Anytime you’re down like that, you’re gonna force it,” Gait said. “…Trying to catch up, get five goals at a time instead of one.”More Coverage:No. 16 Syracuse’s shortcomings exposed in 20-11 blowout loss to No. 5 North CarolinaGallery: No. 16 Syracuse crushed by No. 5 North Carolina, 20-11 Published on April 14, 2018 at 3:59 pm Contact Billy: wmheyen@syr.edu | @Wheyen3 Saturday’s game was the first that the Orange had played on a full week’s preparation since SU’s fourth contest. There was plenty of time to prepare for the tight, man-to-man defense that the Tar Heels played. The preparation didn’t equate to goals. Instead, UNC looked to have taken advantage of its own week off.Syracuse’s Alie Jimerson played for the first time in more than two weeks after dealing with a lower leg injury. Normally an important distributor from behind the net for SU, the Tar Heels focused on shutting down cutting lanes when Jimerson caught in her favorite spot.Outside of Hawryschuk’s four goals, the Tar Heels looked well prepared. Faceguarding Levy worked. Syracuse’s left-handed attackers — Riley Donahue, Molly Carter and Sam Swart — had any openings to the left denied, again and again. Donahue and Carter would spin, back and forth, back and forth. But whenever they tried to break free left, their primary defender or help defense was in the way.Hawryschuk said the Orange tried to keep its mindset focused on one goal at a time to get a run going. The run never came for SU.“We just have to regroup and focus on the next game plan,” Hawryschuk said.The Orange won’t have a week off before its second-to-last game of the regular season. No. 2 Boston College hosts SU on Thursday. And the Eagles, prior to their Saturday game, had the second-best scoring offense in the nation.“We’ve got to find a way to flip the switch here,” Gait said. “… We’ll regroup and try to get an upset at Boston College.” Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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