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Top four seeds advance with wins in Championship quarterfinal round
BLACKSBURG, Va. (theACC.com) – The semifinal round of the Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Lacrosse Championship will feature the top four seeds following Thursday’s quarterfinal round action at Lane Stadium.
Top-seeded North Carolina (14-2) will battle fourth-seeded rival Duke (10-7) in Friday’s 5 p.m. semifinal match, followed by second-seeded Syracuse (14-4) versus third-seeded Notre Dame (13-5) at 7:30. The winners will advance to Sunday’s 1 p.m. championship game.
Thursday’s quarterfinal session saw UNC down eighth-seeded and host Virginia Tech by a 19-6 score, while Duke edged fifth-seeded Virginia 9-8. In the later games, Syracuse topped seventh-seeded Boston College, 16-11, while Notre Dame defeated sixth-seeded Louisville 12-10 in a match that began outdoors and moved inside due to inclement weather.
North Carolina and Duke will be meeting for the second time in less than week. The Tar Heels doubled up the Blue Devils 16-8 in last Saturday’s regular-season finale in Chapel Hill.
Syracuse claimed a 12-11 win at Notre Dame on March 26, rallying from a 6-2 halftime deficit.
The entire 2016 ACC Women’s Lacrosse Championship will be broadcast on the ACC’s Regional Sports Networks and will be available on ESPN3. Tom Werme will call the play-by-play, while Leah Secondo serves as color analyst.
A capsule look at Friday’s action:
No. 1 North Carolina 19, No. 8 Virginia Tech 6
The top-seeded Tar Heels set the tone early, parlaying goals from Ela Hazar and Marie McCool into a 2-0 lead just 48 seconds into the match. Ten players wound up scoring goals for the Tar Heels, who built their lead to double digits in the opening minutes of the second half and finished one goal shy of their season high.
Molly Hendrick led UNC with six points on four goals and two assists. Hazar and McCool delivered hat tricks. McCool, Carly Reed and Aly Messinger also finished with two assists each.
Jessi Thon and Tristan McGinley each scored twice for the Hokies (5-13), and Colleen Ward led all players with three assists.
Led by Hendrick’s three goals and two assists, UNC built a 12-5 lead by the halftime break. Hazar also scored three goals in the first 30 minutes, while Aly Messinger and McCool scored two apiece. UNC outshot the Hokies 27-11 in the first half and held a 9-5 edge in ground balls.
The nationally third-ranked Tar Heels wound up with a 40-16 advantage in total shots, including 27 on goal. UNC collected 19 total ground balls to the Hokies’ eight and forced six of Virginia Tech’s 12 turnovers. The Tar Heels will carry an 11-game winning streak into Friday’s semifinal.
No. 4 Duke 9, No. 5 Virginia 8
Duke defeated the Cavaliers for the second time this season while earning a shot at North Carolina in the semifinals. Grace Fallon, Kyra Harney and Maddy Acton scored two goals each to lead the Blue Devils, and Olivia Jenner delivered two key assists.
The Blue Devils built a 5-1 lead at the outset of the match, but the Cavaliers fought back to within 5-3 by end of the opening half. Acton and Harney followed up Maddie Crutchfield’s game-opening score with two goals each for Duke in the first 30 minutes. Kelly Boyd, Posey Valis and Kelly Reese accounted for Virginia’s three goals, and Valis assisted on Boyd’s score.
The Blue Devils pushed their lead to 6-3 on Fallon’s goal off an assist from Crutchfield just over six minutes into the second half. The teams traded goals until just under 13 minutes remaining, when the Cavaliers closed to within 8-7 in back-to-back scores by Reese and Valis.
But Duke patiently looked for a goal to counter, and the Blue Devils found it with 5:25 remaining. Emma Lazaroff took a nifty pass from Jenner and slammed a shot home from close range to push Duke’s edge back to two goals.
Vallis scored here fourth goal of the game with 10.7 seconds remaining in the game, but it came too late for the Cavaliers, who exited the tournament despite outshooting the Blue Devils 21-17 and holding a 16-11 advantage in ground balls.
Despite the loss, the Cavaliers (9-8) remain hopeful of at-large NCAA berth when invitations are extended on May 8.
No. 2 Syracuse 16, No. 7 Boston College 11
After needing double overtime to get past the Eagles in last year’s Championship quarterfinal, and losing at Boston College earlier this season, the Orange knew it had little margin for error on Thursday
Syracuse clung to a one-point lead heading into the second half but scored four unanswered goals in the first 13:10 of the second half to pull in front 12-6. Boston College came no closer than four goals the rest of the way.
Nicole Levy scored five goals, and Kayla Treanor posted four assists and added a goal to lead the Orange. Erica Bodt added a hat trick and one assist.
Boston College’s Tess Chandler matched Levy’s five-goal performance. Kenzie Kent and Kate Weeks each scored a pair of goals for the Eagles (9-8).
The Orange led 7-6 at the end of the first half of scoring streaks and changing momentum.
Goals by Caroline Margolis and Chandler put the Eagles up 2-0 less than three minutes into the game. Syracuse stormed back with five unanswered goals – three by Levy – to lead 5-2. With Sarah Mannelly assisting on a pair of goals, Boston College scrapped back to tie the score at 6-all on Weeks’ goal with 4:22 remaining in the first half. Kelly Cross’ unassisted goal at 2:41 gave the Orange its one-point edge that held up until the break.
Syracuse outshot the Eagles 15-10 in the first half and held an 8-7 edge on ground balls.
Levy’s fourth goal of the game and two scores by Riley Donahue highlighted the Orange’s surge at the outset of the second half. Taylor Gait added a goal and assisted on another by Bodt.
The flurry was remarkably similar to the one staged by the Eagles in the regular-season meeting between the teams. Boston College used a 7-2 run in the first 20 minutes of that game en route to a 13-8 win.
The Eagles continued to battle on Thursday¬¬, even facing the 12-6 deficit. A pair of goals by Tess Chandler and another by Kenzie Kent left the deficit at 13-9 with over 11 minutes still to play.
But Syracuse answered on Halle Majorana’s goal off an assist from Treanor, and the Orange maintained its five-goal edge from there.
Syracuse finished with a 29-19 shot advantage and finished ahead 15-12 on ground balls.
No. 3 Notre Dame 12, No. 6 Louisville 10
The final match of the night began in Lane Stadium but moved inside for the second half due to heavy rain and lightning in Blacksburg area.
The Fighting Irish reeled off seven unanswered goals in the first half to build a 9-3 lead at the break and took a 10-3 lead less than a minute into the second half on Cortney Fortunato’s third goal of the night.
But the Cardinals (11-5) seemed to find the indoor surroundings to their liking. Louisville reeled off five unanswered goals – including Kelli Gerding’s second and third of the night – to close within 10-8 with 14:24 still to play.
But goals by Casey Pearsall and Fortunato down the stretch kept Louisville at arm’s length and assured the Fighting Irish of a spot versus Syracuse on Friday night.
Fortunato finished with four goals on the night and Pearsall, Kiera McMullen and Rachel Sexton with two apiece. Gerding and Koloski each delivered hat tricks for Louisville, and Kaylin Morrisette had two goals.
Fortunato, McMullen and Sexton each scored a pair of first half goals, and Fortunato added an assist to key the Irish’s first-half attack. Gerding had a goal and an assist to lead Louisville.
Notre Dame finished with a 24-22 edge in total shots, while Louisville had 15 ground balls to 12 for the Irish.