Chapel Hill, NC – Down three goals late in the fourth quarter, No. 5 seed North Carolina staged a furious comeback to take an 11-10 victory over fourth-seeded Syracuse in the first round of the 2019 Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Lacrosse Championship Thursday evening in Chapel Hill.
The Tar Heels, who won first the first time in school history when trailing Syracuse in the fourth quarter, advanced to face top seed Virginia in Saturday’s semifinal at 2 p.m. on ESPNU.
“I’m just so proud of the guys and the coaches for continuing to stick to the plan,” said UNC head coach Joe Breschi. “We’ve been so close in so many games and fallen short and it almost felt like it was heading in that direction again. For these guys to just continue to battle like they have all year and finally for it to go our way – we earned it, we absolutely earned it – that’s a credit to the guys in the locker room.”
Syracuse looked to be in control after posting three consecutive goals in the fourth quarter to grab a 10-7 lead with 6:12 remaining. UNC’s comeback started with a goal from midfielder Matt Gavin at the 3:46 mark. Attackman Brian Cameron followed with a goal at 3:07, and face-off specialist Zachary Tucci tied the game six seconds later. The Tar Heels scored three goals in 45 seconds to set the stage for the dramatic ending.
Syracuse won the ensuing faceoff, but a shot by Orange midfielder David Lipka was saved by UNC goalie Caton Johnson. After a successful Carolina clear, Gavin scored the game-winner with 1:07 remaining.
Syracuse was led by junior attackman Bradley Voigt, who had four goals and assisted on another, and midfielder Jacob Buttermore, who added a hat trick and had an assist. It was the eighth time this season Voigt has recorded three-or-more goals. Nate Solomon also had a goal to extend his streak 30 consecutive games with a point.
The game was tight throughout and was tied at four at halftime. Neither team led by more than two goals until the fourth quarter.