Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on April 28, 2017 at 10:48 pm Contact Charlie: [email protected] | @charliedisturco DURHAM, N.C. — Syracuse is used to these late-game situations. Battling back from a deficit as the game winds down has become a normality for the top-ranked team in the country. SU already defeated North Carolina two weeks ago after trailing by five. But the deficit had never been nine — and never has Syracuse battled back from such a steep hole to win.That held true in the first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, as No. 1 seed Syracuse (11-2, 4-0 ACC) fell just shy of making its largest comeback in program history. No. 4 seed North Carolina (7-7, 1-3) used a dominant 11-1 first-half run, jumping out to a nine-goal lead and eventually defeating the Orange, 16-15. The Orange’s first loss since Feb. 25 against Army also marks the first time Syracuse will not play in the conference championship since joining the ACC.Syracuse struck first with a Jamie Trimboli left-handed shot. That was Ben Williams’ last faceoff win for the next 21 minutes and 16 seconds. North Carolina slowly picked apart the SU defense after each faceoff win. The offense gelled as a unit and used its transition offense to jump out to an early lead. Ten different Tar Heels contributed a goal in what became an 11-1 run.“The transition game sparked the offense,” UNC head coach Joe Breschi said. “We were getting those early offensive looks, scoring, winning faceoffs, settling down in the six on six and took care of the ball.“We weren’t forcing things — we were looking for the right matchups.”After Trimboli’s goal, the Orange could not find the back of the net for roughly a quarter. The few looks the offense had in transition resulted in turnovers or saves and transition in the opposite direction. SU’s only goal in the UNC first-half run came on a fast break by Peter Dearth — Sergio Salcido forced a turnover, picked up the ground ball and found an open Dearth cutting toward the cage.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We didn’t get a chance to play of lot of offense in the first half,” Syracuse head coach John Desko said, “and they got the early lead.”With Williams losing faceoff after faceoff, Desko decided to make a change. He went with freshman Danny Varello, an otherwise consistent producer at the X in the bits and pieces he has played throughout the season. But even Varello could not figure out UNC’s Stephen Kelly, who won 13 straight after losing the opening faceoff.Kelly’s success at the X led to quick transition goals. Ten seconds after Syracuse’s only goal in the 11-1 run, long pole Jack Lambert picked up the ground ball off a Kelly faceoff win and fired a shot past Evan Molloy. Less than 10 minutes later, Lambert broke out in transition, wound up and fired top shelf.Each faceoff win quickly resulted in long possessions for North Carolina. The team passed the ball around, using its top threats — attacks Chris Cloutier and Luke Goldstock — as well as its younger players, like Tanner Cook, Justin Anderson and Andy Matthews. The Syracuse defense tried sliding to adjust, but that only created holes. Over a handful of times UNC’s passing resulted in an opening and one-on-one with goalie Molloy.“Drawing slides, drawing men and being able top see the whole field,” Cloutier said. “We’re meshing really well right now.”When the SU defense would stick close to the attacks and cut off the passing lanes, UNC worked the ball up to the midfielders, who attacked the short sticks. Early in the game, Michael Tagliaferri scored his first after beating Joe Gillis on a dodge.“We wanted to do to them what they were doing to us,” Desko said. “Start some fast breaks going from defense to offense … Their poles are very good offensive players and to make the shots they made with their poles, we knew that could happen.”Syracuse has had a similar script in most of its games this season. A late comeback, a chaotic ending and a one-goal game normally ending in its favor. But this time, a dreadful first half reversed the script.“It just got away from us in the second quarter,” Desko said. “There wasn’t anything we were really doing well.” Comments
University of Wisconsin men’s tennis is not done with their hot start to the season.The No. 30 Badgers (13-1 overall, 3-0 Big Ten) are winners of seven-straight games — the last three coming against ranked opponents — ahead of their match against No. 14 Northwestern (17-2 overall, 3-0 Big Ten). A win over the Wildcats would be the team’s first victory over a top-20 opponent since 2010 when they defeated No. 13 Illinois 4-1, but it will not be easy.The Badgers will need to travel to Evanston, where Northwestern has remained unbeaten in 13-straight matches dating back to last season. In the Wildcats’ nine home games this season, they’ve only dropped nine total points.Northwestern is led by two top-50 singles players, No. 13 Konrad Zieba (10-4) and No. 42 Sam Shropshire (8-4), and No. 97 Strong Kirchheimer (15-1) at the first, second and third singles spots. The three haven’t kept a consistent lineup and are likely to be switched around as head coach Arvid Swan sees fit.But the Badgers and Wildcats each faced TCU earlier on the season, which could give some insight as to what individual matches will look like on Saturday. Zieba is likely to face off against Josef Dodridge (9-3) at first singles in a quicker paced match, followed by Shropshire vs. Alexander Kokorev (6-7) at second singles and capped by Kirchheimer vs. Lamar Remy (9-4).Last time outWisconsin had a packed weekend coming off spring break, during which team handled No. 56 Iowa in a 4-1 win Friday, but had to fight back to defeat No. 71 Nebraska 4-3 Sunday.The Badgers dropped the opening doubles point against the Cornhuskers and quickly found themselves down 3 to 1 in the match after Dodridge and Kokorev fell in their matches. Remy won in three sets in the third spot, followed by Osgar O’Hoisin and Chema Carranza to tie the match at three.With all eyes on the final match, John Zordani defeated his opponent in three sets, winning the final game 6-4 to complete the comeback. The match showcased a gritty side to the Badgers, one which they’ll need to defeat a tough opponent on the road.First serve is 6 p.m. Friday.