Sinck Stands Tall, de Vries Nails her Chance, Syracuse Survives Duke
By Patrick Gunn
CitrusTV Field Hockey Beat Reporter
DURHAM, N.C. – The Syracuse Field Hockey looked completely outplayed after the first half. Specifically, the smothering Duke defense was stifling star forward Charlotte de Vries and the rest of the SU offense as the Blue Devils outshot the Orange 13 to one in the first half.
But, Duke only mustered one goal as SU goaltender Sarah Sinck played one of her best efforts of the season.
Sinck’s performance in net – along with several lucky bounces – kept the Orange in the game, even through two overtime periods. This allowed Charlotte de Vries to get the ball all to herself in front of the net in double overtime and score the game-winning goal as No. 19 Syracuse (7-2, 1-1 Atlantic Coast) stunned No. 2 Duke (7-1, 0-1 ACC) in a season-changing, 2-1 win.
Like most of the season, Syracuse played an imperfect game. The Orange struggled with ball possession as Duke outshot Syracuse 28 to 13 in the end. The Blue Devils were constantly wreaking havoc in Syracuse’s circle while the Orange kept rushing their passes on offense, playing into Duke’s stringent defense.
De Vries was completely stuffed at the start of the game, barely getting any touches. On one play in particular, she tried to beat the Blue Devils defense with an open teammate over the middle, but couldn’t get the pass off. This cost Syracuse an offensive chance.
Despite the advantage in chances, Duke only mustered one goal on a Haley Schleicher penalty stroke. Sinck made five of her eight saves in the first half as she played aggressive in net, coming out of the goal to pressure Duke’s offense even when she was alone with the defense left behind.
Duke had the one-goal lead until the fourth quarter when Syracuse got a penalty corner chance. Off the insertion, de Vries took the ball and passed it to Carolin Hoffman. She laced a shot that Claire Cooke tipped over the stout Duke goalie Sammi Steele, and the game was tied. This goal came from great play design and unselfish play from de Vries.
Duke almost won the game with fewer than five seconds on the clock. They got a penalty corner chance and even got the ball in the net. Unfortunately, the goal was scored mere seconds after the buzzer sounded, proving that the momentum was tipping in the Orange’s favor at the end of regulation.
In overtime, Duke led in shots six to three once again, but the Blue Devils could not get the ball past Sinck in the net.
This stalemate continued for just over seven minutes into the second overtime period. Then, de Vries got her breakaway chance right in front of the net, slamming the ball into the net, sealing the major upset win.
In many respects, Syracuse should not have won this game. However, the Orange made impressive adjustments in the second half, changing their tempo to win them the game. SU has been toe-to-toe with most of their opponents this season but have fallen victim to inconsistent offensive performances all year.
Now, the Orange showed that they can win a scrappy fight. Head coach Ange Bradley’s team just proved that they can go anywhere against any team, play well and win.
SU gets a chance to win across the country next weekend. Syracuse faces California on Friday and Stanford on Saturday, with both games taking place in Berkley.
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