North Carolina advances past Syracuse to play for the national title
NORFOLK, Va. -- Top-seeded North Carolina advanced to its 15th NCAA Championship with a 6-1 win against Syracuse on Friday at Powhatan Sports Complex. The Tar Heels will play Sunday afternoon for their seventh national title, facing either Princeton or Maryland.
Sophomore Charlotte Craddock scored three goals in the win for her fourth hat trick of the year. Senior Jaclyn Gaudioso Radvany scored two and junior Sinead Loughran added one as the Tar Heels improved to 23-1 with a win against the only team to have beaten them this season.
Syracuse won the teams' first matchup 1-0 in overtime on Sept. 1 and the Orange held the first lead in the semifinals match up. In the eighth minute of play on a penalty corner, UNC goalkeeper Sassi Ammer saved Syracuse's initial shot but Lauren Brooks grabbed the rebound and put it back in from the left post.
The Orange lead lasted 63 seconds before UNC used a fast break off a restart to score a goal of its own. Craddock fed the ball to Gaudioso Radvany, who had just come into the game. Gaudioso Radvany deflected the ball behind SU keeper Leann Stiver from the left side to tie the game at one.
The teams were even until the 32nd minute. On a penalty corner, senior Katie Ardrey sent the ball to Craddock, who sent a hard shot past Stiver and started a game-winning stretch of offense for the Tar Heels. UNC scored three times in 1:02 to take a 4-1 lead into halftime. Just 24 seconds after Craddock's goal, sophomore Loren Shealy sent a ball across the cage, where it bounced off the SU goalkeeper. Loughran grabbed it and sent it back in for a score. Thirty-four seconds after that, freshman Emily Wold connected with Craddock, who sent a hard shot past Stivers to put UNC up by three.
The Tar Heels added two more scores in the second half. In the 44th minute, Craddock's cross set up a play for Gaudioso Radvany, who scored her 12th goal of the season. And in the 56th minute, after Syracuse had pulled Stivers to try to gain an advantage with another field player, Craddock gathered a loose ball following a blocked shot and scored to make the game 6-1.
Craddock set a school record for goals by a sophomore with 25 this season.