The Orange scored the last four goals of regulation and then won the game on an extra-man goal by Sergio Salcido 1:18 into the overtime period.
The furious Orange rally sent the home fans to the exits unhappy on what had been a festive day at Fetzer Field. The game marked the final regular-season game scheduled to be played at the edifice, which has been home to UNC lacrosse since 1949. Fetzer Field will be razed next month and a new soccer and lacrosse stadium will be built on the same site with opening scheduled for August 2018. I was also Alumni Weekend for the Tar Heel lacrosse program and the final home regular-season games for 10 Carolina senior players.
Syracuse improved to 10-1 with the win while finishing with a perfect 4-0 ACC regular season record. All four ACC wins for the Orange came by one goal. Syracuse improved to 7-1 this year in games decided by one goal. North Carolina fell to 6-6 with the loss. The Tar Heels are now 1-2 in the ACC. All six Tar Heel losses this year have come in Chapel Hill.
Salcido led Syracuse with a hat trick while Stephen Rehfuss had two goals and two assists. Nick Mariano and Paolo Ciferri each scored two goals for the victorious Orange while Nate Solomon notched a goal and two assists.
Luke Goldstock had a brilliant game for the Tar Heels on his Senior Day as he had three goals and three assists. The three goals by Goldstock move him into sixth place all-time in goal scoring at 112 tallies. He passed both John Webster and Mac Ford on the Tar Heel goal-scoring chart on Saturday. Goldstock has 164 career points, the 13th highest total in Tar Heel lore. Brian Cannon and Tanner Cook each scored two goals for Carolina while Chris Cloutier and Andy Matthews each had a goal and an assist.
Syracuse outshot the Tar Heels 41-37 on the day and had a decided edge in ground balls at 34-23. Given the pace of the game, it was relatively turnover free with the Orange making just eight miscues and the Tar Heels committing 10 turnovers.
North Carolina goalkeeper Brian Balkam made 11 saves in goal for UNC while Evan Molloy made six saves for the Orange.
It was a game of runs as Syracuse jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first quarter, including back-to-back goals by Sergio Salcido. Brian Cannon’s unassisted goal on a bounce shot with 1:40 left in the first quarter started a five-goal run by the Tar Heels. UNC scored all four goals in the second quarter, by four different players. William McBride’s unassisted goal put the Tar Heels up 6-4 with 3:56 to play before halftime.
Syracuse opened the scoring in the third quarter, but UNC ran off four goals in a span of just 4:12 to go up 10-5 with 5:26 left in the third quarter. Goldstock had back-to-back goals with 7:52 and 6:20 left in the third quarter and he then assisted William Perry’s extra-man goal with 5:26 left in the quarter.
Nick Mariano pulled the Orange within three goals at 10:55 and then back-to-back unassisted goals by Stephen Rehfuss pulled the Orange back within 11-10 with 4:57 left on the clock.
The Tar Heels had possession in the last two minutes but the Syracuse defense forced a turnover and Paolo Ciferri scored an unassisted fast break goal with 1:19 left to even the game.
Carolina never touched the ball again after the turnover with 1:24 left in regulation. Syracuse’s Ben Williams won the ensuing face-off and Syracuse called timeout. With 11 seconds left in regulation, Brian Balkam made a brilliant one-on-one save on the doorstep on a shot by SU’s Nate Solomon and the game went to overtime, where Syracuse is now 4-0 all-time against Carolina after Saturday’s win.
Williams, who won 15 of 25 face-offs on the day, again won the overtime face-off and 54 seconds into the extra period, UNC’s Jack Lambert was called for a push against Nate Solomon. Syracuse executed the extra-man opportunity to perfection with Salcido scoring the game-winning goal from the left side at 2:42 off an assist by Brad Voigt.
While falling to 6-6 on the season, the Tar Heels are still in the hunt for an NCAA Tournament bid. The Tar Heels continue to control their own fate with a game at Notre Dame next Saturday at noon (ESPNU) and a semifinal date against an opponent to be determined in the ACC Tournament semifinals at Durham, N.C., on Friday, April 28.
The current ACC standings are as follows: Syracuse 4-0, Duke 3-1, North Carolina 1-2, Notre Dame 1-2, Virginia 0-4.