Syracuse Lacrosse Gears Up For Another ACC Tournament

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

But that's the place 18-rated North Carolina found itself Sunday.

It was an all-around team effort according to Cloutier.

North Carolina wasted no time getting ahead of the Orange, and despite the second half rally from SU, the Tar Heels played with an intensity of a team that needed to win out to make the NCAA Tournament. That's more than half the time, which means more possessions for Syracuse.

A partisan crowd of more than 2,300 cheered on the Tar Heels, who generally acknowledged that a degree of desperation was part of the championship formula. Duke needed to play a almost flawless game in order compete with North Carolina, and now it may not have the chance to correct its mistakes until next season.

"We got off to a good start, we were putting the ball into the back of the net", said Syracuse head coach Gary Gait.

The defending national champion Tar Heels, who entered the weekend needing two wins to finish the regular season above.500 and remain eligible for selection to the NCAA Tournament, defeated the top two teams in the country in the NCAA RPI en route to the championship. With only five schools playing men's lacrosse, the ACC is without an automatic bid to the NCAAs. The team features four Notre Dame Fighting Irish players and four North Carolina Tar Heels while just one Duke Blue Devils player made the list.

"We had to do this or this would be it for us", he said. Freshman Jack Pezzulla played the last 4:11 for the Tar Heels and made two saves while allowing a single extra-man goal. "We didn't catch any breaks, but this year you just feel that confidence". Alie Jimerson and Natalie Wallon each scored three times and four other Orange players scored twice each. To achieve some of your goals - an ACC Championship and an NCAA Championship - you had to win six straight.

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All three games saw the Boshamer Stadium stands packed with onlookers for the top-five matchup, giving the series a feeling of more than just a late April ACC meeting. The game then turned when North Carolina began to dominate the face-off, taking home 10 of 11 in the fourth quarter.

Back in January, before the North Carolina baseball team's season had kicked off, the Tar Heels held their annual First Pitch banquet. This occurrence (or lack of) has lead to the notion that the University of North Carolina does not produce good quarterbacks.

Barely two minutes had elapsed into the second frame before UNC senior attack Carly Reed glided around the cage, paused and scored. The victor will take on either Duke or Notre Dame in the final.

Notre Dame's Gleason scored the first goal of the second quarter, but the Tar Heels got the next three from Justin Anderson and two from Cloutier to push their lead to 7-2 as Cloutier completed the hat trick. The Orange was three for three on the EMO while UNC was two for four. At no point, she said, did she step beyond the parameters of the game plan in an attempt to take command.

To rejuvenate, Syracuse ripped off a 5-0 run to take a two-goal lead.

And finally, both NC A&T and NC Central helped themselves in their battle to earn spots in the upcoming MEAC tournament by recovering from opening game losses to win their respective series' this weekend.

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