Field Hockey Rides Red Hot Start Into Ranked Play
By: Skyler Wilkes | @swilkes04
CitrusTV Field Hockey Beat Reporter
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Through the first four games of the season, Syracuse Field Hockey looks like a different version of itself. By this time last fall, SU was 2-2 coming off consecutive overtime losses to Kent State and Rutgers. Now, the seventh ranked Orange are undefeated and have scored 22 goals thus far, the most to kickoff a year since 2008. The ‘Cuse’s 4-0 start is their best in half a decade.
Syracuse has shut down opposing attacks while firing shots left and right. Sunday’s 6-2 victory over Columbia showcased SU’s true offensive power. The Orange outshot the Lions 25-4, and have put 58 attempts on goal compared to 10 by their opponents. The win also marked four straight contests where the ‘Cuse had four or more women score.
Syracuse isn’t just getting production from a variety of sources, it’s coming from mostly newcomers. Three of the top five points leaders for SU, freshman Lieke Leeggangers and grad students Joy Haarman and Sabine van den Eijnden, are new. You can’t forget about Sam Swart either, who in her first two games as a collegiate field hockey player, tallied a goal and two assists.
“We have some new players, we have a lot of firepower coming in with some good experience behind their belt and that has added a lot to our front five in our ability to score and put pressure on our opposition,” said head coach Ange Bradley.
Aside from the additions, the Orange have gotten strong results from their returning upperclassmen. Grad student Quirine Comans leads the team with six goals, five of them coming in the past two games. Meanwhile, senior Charlotte de Vries has already met her assist total from last season and has half the amount of goals as well.
On the defensive side, Syracuse, at least from a numbers standpoint, has been fantastic. The Orange pitched a shutout for the first 14 quarters of the season. Sophomore goalie Brooke Borzymowski has seven saves on 19 shots for a 87% save percentage. SU has allowed just 24 shots thus far, proving that sometimes defense is the best offense.
After beginning the year against four unranked foes, the ‘Cuse head into the weekend with two top-25 challengers on the docket. With a 4-3 record versus high-caliber teams last season, it’s very possible that things could get rocky. However, Coach Bradley feels differently about this squad.
“They all want to do the same thing. We want to be united and that’s what we’re all working towards a common goal…so that’s what’s special. They’re united and they believe.”
Together, SU heads to New Jersey for a matchup with No. 17 Princeton at 4 p.m. on Friday. It’s their first meeting since 2019 and the Tigers hold a 12-10 record all-time. Then, it’s on to face No. 25 Monmouth, who last played Syracuse during its championship run in 2015. The Orange are 4-0 against the Hawks, outscoring them 25-2. That contest is scheduled for Sunday at noon.
Belief is strong in the ‘Cuse locker room, and when you combine that with the way they have been playing, it makes SU a tough team to beat.