Sinck, Syracuse Defense Holds Strong, Stuns No. 3 UConn
By Patrick Gunn
CitrusTV Field Hockey Beat Reporter
STORRS, CONN. – Syracuse Field Hockey has been a resilient group all season, finding ways to pull out close wins. After losing three consecutive games, including two in the final minutes, it appeared that the Orange had lost their edge.
That changed today when Sarah Sinck ran out of the goal to push away a shot from Marie Auer in a penalty shutout in the pouring rain.
Sinck’s herculean, 11 save performance in goal, and her defense’s resilient effort on penalty corners and man-down situations, carried the No. 15 Orange (9-5, 1-3 Atlantic Coast) to a stunning, 1-0 shootout stunner over No. 3 Connecticut (13-3, 5-0 Big East).
Their outstanding performance in penalty situations can not be overlooked. The Huskies outshot the Orange 24 to eight and had 13 penalty corner chances compared to Syracuse’s one opportunity. Seven of those corners came in overtime. Syracuse had not surrendered more than nine corner chances in a game this season, and that came in their opening matchup against Vermont.
Syracuse was also bested in man-up chances. The Huskies had a two player up chances in the second quarter after Claire Webb and Sarah Luby got green cards within seconds. Then, in double-overtime, SJ Quigley was given a yellow card and Syracuse faced a five-minute man-down situation.
The numbers do not do justice to the Huskies’ amount of opportunities. Their aggressive play kept pushing Syracuse to the brink of disaster, with great passes and better drives into the circle to draw fouls. Svea Boker was a standout for the Huskies, as she not only led her team with seven shots but continuously created scoring chances and wreaked havoc in the circle. That being said, their attack was not enough to stump the Orange’s defense.
At every obstacle, Sinck and Syracuse’s defense held firm. Sinck tied a career high with those 11 saves, and that might not do her performance justice. She played fantastically out of the net today, running all over the circle to deflect UConn passes and kick balls out of the circle. There was one play late in the fourth quarter where Sinck beat a Huskies player and dove to knock a ball out of bounds outside the edge of the circle. This was Sinck’s second strong effort after an eight-save performance against then No. 2 Duke.
Sinck’s physical play set the tone for the Orange defense. Earlier in the season, Webb described Sinck has having a calming influence over their defense and that showed today. On penalty corner after penalty corner, Webb and company were all over the Huskies, blocking shots, cutting off passing lanes, and clearing the ball to give Sinck some time to recover in net. Their key plays came during the Huskies’ five-minute man-up advantage. Webb and Claire Cooke blocked two scoring chances, and Syracuse was able to escape that golden opportunity thanks to a strong defensive effort.
Fittingly, the penalty shootout started with a great save from Sinck and senior back Webb scoring to give the Orange the lead. The game finally ended with Sinck leaving the net to deflect the ball away from Auer.
Words cannot describe the madness that took place in this game. When all is said and done, Syracuse, a team that lost three brutal games in a row to ranked opponents, escaped Connecticut with a much needed, and hard-fought victory.
Syracuse gets a few days to rest before its final regular season homestead of the season this weekend. The Orange welcome Wake Forest to JS Coyne Stadium on Friday in a crucial ACC matchup.
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