NORFOLK, Va. - One of the most success seasons in Syracuse field hockey history came to a close on Friday as the No. 5 Orange (20-3) lost to No. 1 North Carolina (23-1), 6-1, in the NCAA semifinals at the Powhatan Sports Complex. The Tar Heels will play the winner of No. 2 Princeton and No. 6 Maryland for the NCAA title on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Making its second-ever Final Four appearance, head coach Ange Bradley's Orange finish the 2012 season tied for the second-most wins in program history with 19 and with the second-best winning percentage in program history (.864).
"I am incredibly proud of this team," Bradley said. "My group of seniors, they have done nothing but represent our great university with class and I am honored to have worked with them. They are an amazing group of student-athletes."
Despite the Orange scoring the game's first goal, the Tar Heels used three goals in a 1:02 span late in the first half to seize control in what was a rematch of Syracuse's 1-0 overtime win over the Tar Heels at Coyne Stadium on Sept. 1.
Lauren Brooks knocked in the rebound of a Leonie Geyer shot on the Orange's first penalty corner opportunity of the day to put SU on top 7:40 into the game. It was the sophomore's 12th goal of the season.
The Tar Heels answered just over a minute later, tying the game on a Jaclyn Gaudioso Radvany goal 8:43 into the game.
The teams would battle it out tied, 1-1, over most of the duration of the first half until Charlotte Craddock scored her first of three goals with 3:02 left in the half, giving UNC its first lead. Sinead Loughran struck 24 seconds later, and Craddock scored again with 2:00 remaining to give UNC a 4-1 lead at halftime.
Gaudioso Radvany made it a 5-1 game in the 44th minute, knocking in a ball from in front of the SU cage.
The Orange generated some scoring opportunities in the middle portion of the second half as it pulled goalie Leann Stiverand went with a kicking back to gain an extra attacker, but Craddock made it a 6-1 game, scoring on the rebound of a blocked shot on the counter attack to close the scoring.
Stiver finished with four saves for the Orange, while UNC's Sassi Ammer made six saves. UNC held an 18-8 shot advantage and a 8-3 edge in penalty corners.
The BIG EAST regular season champion at 6-0, the Orange finishes the 2012 season 10-2 against ranked teams, including wins over the top three teams in the RPI (No. 1 North Carolina, No. 2 Princeton and No. 3 Connecticut).