first_imgWhile Syracuse head coach John Desko approached the stage for his postgame press conference, freshman Brendan Curry scrambled out of his coach’s usual seat.“You ever been in one of these before?” Desko asked the midfielder.“No,” Curry said through a smile.“We’ll have to teach you where to sit, then,” Desko quipped.Curry’s first press conference came moments after he assisted on No. 7 Syracuse’s (7-4, 4-0 Atlantic Coast) game-winning overtime goal against North Carolina (6-7, 0-3) in a 13-12 win on Saturday night in the Carrier Dome. About 20 minutes prior, there was no reason to believe Curry, who had zero points until the final two minutes of regulation, would be talking to the media postgame. In fact, it didn’t look like Syracuse would be celebrating a win. Then, the first-line midfielder took over, scoring the Orange’s final two goals in regulation and assisting on the overtime goal to catapult Syracuse to a regular season conference title. His three points match a career high he set earlier in the season against Duke.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“He was playing more composed in the second half,” Desko said. “He really went hard to the goal and I thought he shot very well. So we were filling it with him and decided that’s who we wanted to have the ball at the end of the game.”Curry started his first game nearly a month ago against Rutgers and has been a mainstay on the first line since. In the five games he had started in prior to Saturday, Curry tallied six points, including his three-point performance against then-No. 3 Duke. Many of those points came because of Curry’s speed, something both his teammates and coaches have highlighted throughout the season.Early in the first quarter Saturday, Curry had the ball at his sweet spot. From the top of the restraining box, Curry looked down his defender while taking a few short choppy steps. With a burst of speed, he darted down the right sideline, gaining steps on his defender along the way. But UNC’s goalkeeper Alex Bassil made an easy save on what Desko called postgame a “flat” shot.Curry wouldn’t shoot again for nearly 50 minutes. For SU, it was worth the wait. Trailing by two goals with under two minutes to play, Curry had the ball up near midfield. With 15 yards of open field in front of him, he took off. Brendan Bomberry set a pick on Curry’s defender, and Curry took advantage, cutting slightly to his right and facing little pressure from a UNC defense that was slow to slide to Curry.Running down the right side alley, Curry slung a shot just like he had in the first quarter. This one had more mustard on it, though, and Curry pinned it to the top left of the cage. After the goal, he let out a subtle fist pump, hugged junior attack Nate Solomon and nodded his head as if to show more was coming.“I knew I was going to get the shorty, I got it most of the game,” Curry said. “They weren’t really sliding to me much, so I kind of took that extra step and took couple a more shots than I usually would’ve.”Less than a minute later, Curry caught a pass out by the numbers at the 20-yard line. Curry hopped twice preparing to challenge short-stick defender Cole Haverty who was guarding him. Once sprinting, Curry briefly carried his stick with his one-hand while sneaking by Haverty. When Curry ran past Haverty, no UNC defender slid fast enough, allowing Curry to put his left hand back on the shaft and rip a goal to the bottom right of the cage.Curry fist-pumped once more, but this one was more emphatic. He held his legs in a wide, proud stance, and let out a roar as teammates swarmed him.“We just didn’t slide,” North Carolina head coach Joe Breschi said. “Curry’s a speedster, he got separation and you know he was outside the hashmarks. It was one of those things where it was a judgment call with the clear through guy and he didn’t slide.”In overtime, UNC kept a short stick on Curry. The high school attack turned college midfielder spun his stick and played with his pace of jog while running alongside UNC defender Cam Macri. This time the slide came too quickly, Breschi said.Tar Heels defender Michael Nathan left his post on the crease to help with a streaking Curry, who immediately fed a pass to where Nathan was just standing. Bomberry caught the pass and shot in one fluid motion. As the ball sank into the nylon of the net, Curry held both arms up in celebration before chest bumping with Tucker Dordevic.Curry then ran to the corner and tackled Bomberry. His teammates joined in on the moshpit near the football end zone, piling on top of Curry.“At this point in the season I try and think of myself not really as a freshman anymore,” Curry said, “I mean we’ve all played the same amount this season. Just to get my confidence is a big thing and just being confident throughout the stretch… It was just really fun being out there.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on April 14, 2018 at 8:24 pm Contact Josh: jlschafe@syr.edu | @Schafer_44last_img

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