Orange Field Hockey Upset Louisville, Head to ACC Tournament on Hot Streak
By Tara Arya
CitrusTV’s Field Hockey Beat Reporter
After its season was shortened due to COVID-19 protocol and canceled games, Syracuse Field Hockey capped off the year with an upset over Atlantic Coast Conference front-runner, Louisville.
SU’s first and final home game of the season, as well as their Senior Night, sent the seniors off with a bang. All season we’d seen the defense hold things down and keep the team in the game when the offense couldn’t get going. Against Louisville, however, it was the polished offense that led to the biggest save of the season for the Orange.
In the first half, the Orange held onto the ball almost the entire time, stopping Louisville from any chance at net. Both teams were playing tough defense and there were only three shots total on both sides after the first 30 minutes.
Entering the second half, it was still even at zero and Syracuse held the momentum. In the third quarter, Syracuse had three penalty corner attempts, but on the final one Charlotte de Vries picked up the rebound off a missed goal and knocked one in to put the Orange up one and pressured Louisville. Syracuse’s home field advantage looked to come into play in the cold weather that saw them moving the ball well while Louisville just couldn’t get much going throughout the game.
Although leading the game by one goal, the Orange knew they couldn’t settle there against a Louisville team who could easily warm up and knock one in. In the 50th minute, Laura Graziosi was awarded a penalty stroke and an opportunity to go up two. Graziosi delivered and dug Louisville into a deeper hole with only ten minutes left in the game. Syracuse would be the only team except Virginia to score two goals on the Cardinals this season.
A lot could happen in ten minutes and with three minutes left in the game the Cardinals got on the board and tried to keep their chances alive. The final three minutes had both teams on their toes, especially when with 1:04 remaining, Eefke van den Nieuwenhof made arguably the greatest save of her young career. Syd Taylor jumped out of goal to save the ball and van den Nieuwenhof saw the gap and ran into the goal to save Louisville from tying the game.
The Orange earned a major upset against an unbeaten Louisville team to close out their regular season and get both sides of the ball working heading into the postseason. The women will head to the ACC Tournament this weekend in Chapel Hill, N.C. The Orange earn the number three seed and will play number six Duke in the first round on Thursday at 7 p.m. on ACC Network.
Syracuse played Duke earlier this season in a scoring showdown which saw goals from Laura Graziosi, Florine van Boetzelaer (2) and Charlotte de Vries. Since then the Orange have gone 4-1 and are on a three-game winning streak.
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