No. 3 Syracuse gets first win over No. 1 team since 2012 with upset of UNC
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Kayla Treanor scored a career-high seven goals to lead No. 3 Syracuse to a 12-9 victory against No.1 North Carolina in the Carrier Dome on Saturday. The victory was the Orange's second-ever win against the nation's top team and the first during the regular season.
Syracuse improved its record to 13-1 and is tied with the Tar Heels for first place in the ACC standings with identical 5-1 league records. Syracuse now has three victories against teams ranked in the top five this season. The win was the Orange's first against the nation's No. 1 team since it defeated Florida, 14-13 in double overtime, in the semifinals of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
"This game lived up to what I thought it would be, two of the best teams in the country going head-to-head," said Syracuse head coach Gary Gait. "I thought our players performed excellent against the number one team in the country. A couple of keys for the game were our possession and the few turnovers we had. We talked about it a lot this year -- unforced errors -- and today we didn't make them. I think that comes from the preparation, the mental focus and the energy this team brought to the field today. It was a total team effort."
The squads entered the second half with Syracuse (13-1, 5-1) leading 6-3, and the Orange equaled its largest lead of the game when Katie Webster scored on an assist from Gabby Jaquith 1:11 into the second half. North Carolina (12-2, 5-1) responded with three consecutive goals to get within one at 7-6 with 21:12 on the clock. Sydney Holman scored one of the goals and assisted on the other two. Syracuse answered when Alyssa Murray found classmate Amy Cross cutting in front of the crease. Cross buried her shot at the 18:18 mark and Treanor found the back of the net to extend the Orange's lead to 9-6 with 16:46 to play.
North Carolina wouldn't go away and Abbey Friend's unassisted goal at the 16:01 mark sparked the Tar Heels on a 3-0 scoring run that tied the score at 9-9. Carly Reed followed with a free position goal and Friend's third goal of the game on a free position attempt evened the score with 12:27 remaining.
Treanor gave Syracuse the lead for good when she came from behind the net on the right side and put her shot past North Carolina goalkeeper Caylee Waters to give the Orange the lead for good. Murray connected again with Cross for her fourth assist of the day before Treanor scored on a hard shot at the 3:10 mark for the final goal of the game as Syracuse recorded the 12-9 victory.
The Orange never trailed as Treanor scored the first goal of the day at the 24:04 mark of the first half. With the scored tied, 2-2, Murray scored on an assist from Mallory Vehar off a clear and started a string of four unanswered goals by Syracuse. Treanor scored twice during the scoring run, both times on assists from Murray. Jaquith also added a goal as SU built its largest lead of the first half. Molly Hendrick ended North Carolina's scoring drought of nearly 16 minutes when she scored an unassisted goal with 2:42 remaining to cut the deficit to 6-3 at intermission.
Treanor's seven goals tie for second on Syracuse's single-game scoring list. Murray finished with five points on a goal and four assists. Treanor leads the team in scoring with 77 points, while Murray is second with 63 points.
The Orange held the nation's highest-scoring offense to less than 10 goals for just the second time this season. Syracuse outshot North Carolina, 31-16, and picked up 14 ground balls to seven for the Tar Heels. Kailah Kempney and Kirkland Locey each recorded three draw controls to lead the Orange to a 12-10 advantage in the circle. In addition, SU's defense forced 11 North Carolina turnovers. Kelsey Richardson and Alyssa Costantino each recorded a save for SU, while Waters made 13 saves for North Carolina.