SU Reflects on Last Week’s Loss and Prepares for Friday’s Duel with Louisville
By Nick Luttrell
CitrusTV Field Hockey Beat Reporter
The Virginia players rushed the field and celebrated as the buzzer sounded at J.S. Coyne Stadium. The Cavaliers had pulled the upset, 2-1, over the Orange of Syracuse. It snapped SU’s nine-game winning streak and was just their third loss of the season.
The disappointment was evident on the Syracuse sideline. It was a feeling the players, coaches and even fans hadn’t felt in nearly six weeks. Junior Charlotte De Vries said on Tuesday that while the locker room was sad because of the loss, her team was still able to look at the big picture.
“We were like ‘it happened at the right time, we can learn from this and know that we have to bring it against Louisville on Friday,’” De Vries said. “This is good that it happened before the ACC tournament… I think we all try to see it in a positive light and not be too down on ourselves.”
The ACC Tournament is November 4-7 and will be hosted by Syracuse University but before that, Syracuse (11-3, 4-1 Atlantic Coast) will face a tough task in Louisville (15-2, 5-0 ACC) on Friday afternoon. And it’s safe to say there’s a lot at stake in tomorrow’s game.
If Syracuse can pull off the upset, they will be crowned co-champions of the ACC with Louisville – something SU hasn’t accomplished since 2015. De Vries, a three-year veteran with the Orange, said how important it is for her team to win on Friday.
“We know that if we beat them we are going to have the first game off in the ACC tournament,” De Vries said. “It is added pressure, you can’t take that away that we kinda have to win, but I think that if we see it as another game, another opportunity we’ll be ok.”
Head Coach Ange Bradley mimicked her three-year player and said that a win over Louisville could be big for next week’s conference tournament.
“I think [Friday’s game] is an opportunity for us to go there and have a shot at the regular-season title and get a day off next week at Coyne and watch somebody else play on our field,” Bradley said.
The Cardinals will be no easy task for the Orange, though. Louisville has only lost to two opponents this season, Michigan & Iowa, the teams that are currently No. 1 and 2 in the NFHCA Coaches Poll. They also boast seven wins against Top 25 teams.
The fifth-ranked team in the country is a defensive heavy squad. Most notably is goalkeeper Mila de Kuijer who ranks sixth in the nation (first among Freshmen) in save percentage at .805. This will make it tough for Syracuse, who has struggled recently offensively, to get many goals.
One thing you can expect is for this game to be low-scoring as both Syracuse and Louisville are each top six in the nation in goals allowed this season. You can watch the game beginning on Friday at 3 pm on the ACCN or follow along on my Twitter for live updates.
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