Offensive Spark Against Duke Is Just What Syracuse Needed
By Tara Arya
CitrusTV Field Hockey Beat Reporter
Saturday’s game against Duke was just what the Orange needed heading into a tough weekend on the road. In their first two games against Virginia this season, Syracuse was outshot 37-29, but turned things around offensively against the Blue Devils. In the Preseason ACC Coach’s Poll, Duke placed fourth, two spots ahead of the Orange.
Syracuse picked up on their shooting, tallying eight more shots than Duke with 18 in the game, seven of those coming in the third quarter. Scoring came from all over, notably from Florine van Boetzelaer who scored twice in the game with an assist from Claire Cooke. Charlotte de Vries notched her first goal of the season thanks to an assist from SJ Quigley. It was Laura Graziosi who lifted the Orange past the Blue Devils in the final ten minutes of the game with a goal of her own. Goalkeeper Syd Taylor also recorded her first win of the season with three saves.
Syracuse responded well after Duke scored within the first four minutes of the game and the two teams swapped goals several times until Graziosi put it away in the 52nd minute. This spark in offense will be important when they face North Carolina this weekend, the two-time reigning champs who spent two seasons undefeated until their match with Louisville at the beginning of October. No doubt the Orange can score, but they will have to get locked in on defense if they want to upset the Tar Heels.
North Carolina has been an offensive machine this season, scoring 13 goals in their first four games and only allowing a total of five from their opponents. Last year, Syracuse came close to taking them down, losing 2-1 in a double-overtime thriller. The Orange will have to be at the top of their game on both sides of the field if they want to challenge a team that has outshot their opponents 63-32 just this season.
On the offensive end, freshman Florine van Boetzelaer already has a stellar start to her Syracuse career with three goals in her first three games. After her first goal of the season against Duke, Charlotte de Vries who led the team in goals last year, hopefully got the spark she was looking for. They’ll need some help from players like SJ Quigley and Claire Cooke to get involved as well.
They will have to find a way to stop North Carolina’s fierce offense. This will be an important game for the team, most notably for Syd Taylor in goal. If Taylor can deny an offensive powerhouse like Tar Heels, the Orange will be in great hands. Taylor has allowed seven goals this season and it’ll take a standout game from her and the team’s defense to get past UNC.
Not only do the women face North Carolina in Chapel Hill Friday, they’ll head down to Winston-Salem for a double-header against Wake Forest Sunday and Monday. Friday and Sunday’s game will count for Atlantic Coast Conference standings.
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