Syracuse Scores First ACC Win in Almost 2 Years
By Tom Russo
CitrusTV Women’s Soccer Beat Reporter
The last time the Syracuse Orange (3-7-2, 1-3-1 Atlantic Coast) won a match was on August 29th, 2019. SU had scored exactly one goal in the nine matches since. But today’s 2-1 victory over Wake Forest (5-5-3, 0-3-2 Atlantic Coast) ended an even more unsightly streak.
This was the first time Syracuse has won an ACC match since October 11, 2017, almost two years to the day later. That is a string of 18 consecutive conference matches without a win. Until tonight.
“This is important. It makes the girls believe again,” said head coach Nicky Adams. “It’s not like we haven’t been in other games. But they executed today and finalized it, and that’s what we’ve been missing that finalization piece, so for them to get that done, it’s gotta be a great feeling.”
Initially, it looked as though those streaks wouldn’t be coming to an end, as a grueling first half ended with the score 0-0 and only two shots on the board for the Orange. But Syracuse came out of the lockers looking like a whole different team in the second half.
“Coaches really emphasized courage, having guts, not letting our momentum go down,” said midfielder Georgia Allen. “We’ve had a habit of coming back out and starting slow, so we made it a priority to come out firing, and we always believed we could win.”
The Orange unleashed a whopping 11 shots in the second half, but it was the Demon Deacons who got on the board first when Hulda Arnarstoddir took a rebound off Lysianne Proulx and buried it in the back of the net not even three minutes into the second half. Still, Syracuse remained unfazed.
“I think the here we go again thing was more of a last year attitude that you could see from our team and I think that shows in our results,” said forward Meghan Root. “We were conceding five, seven goals in one game. That was more of a ‘Ah, we can get scored on.’ This time you could see, if you watch the film, after they scored everyone was looking at each other, hyping each other up like, let’s go, this is not over. For me it actually didn’t cross my mind that this was it. I felt like the whole game we had momentum and we were gonna do something with it.”
Sure enough Root did do something about it. In the 84thminute Root took a Kailey Brenner corner, settled it on her patented left foot, and buried the equalizer inside the far post.
“Brenner served it in and Tay(lor Bennett) was diving to get a piece of it, I think she got her head on it. And the ball just fell in front of me,” said Root. “We were talking about scrappiness in the box and being the first person to step to the ball. And it just fell in and I focused on keeping it low and on target.”
“We knew coming into this game we’d have opportunities off set pieces, and we knew when we were having a corner, our brains were switched on. You know what, this is a brilliant opportunity to score a goal,” said Allen. “And Meghan Root was awesome on that.”
The goal sent the Orange to their third extra time match of the season. But this time, they only needed one extra period, because it was once again Root, this time not on a corner, but on a rebound, the third rebound to be specific, as she buried the match-winner in the 99thminute.
“The ball got played into the keeper, she made the save,” said Root. “I tried to play it in, someone blocked it, it went out to Clarke (Brown). She put it on target. Then I slid again. The goalie saved it, and it was just sitting there again and I just slid to get on it.”
When the dust settled Root had her first career brace and the Orange had their first win in a month and a half. But while Root scored the goals, it was the entire team that starred today.
“Georgia’s a bit banged up, we didn’t actually know if we were gonna have her, so a lot of kudos to her for playing courageously and brave on an injury,” said Adams. “I thought Mackenzie Vlachos was big time tonight in the central part of the field, both defensively and offensively. I thought Jenna Tivnan and Shannon Aviza, our two center backs just did a good job of funneling in and keeping them in front. You can always count on Lys(ianne Proulx) in goal. She made the saves she was supposed to make and of course Lys comes up with two to three big saves every time. I couldn’t be more proud of Meghan Root. The kid has been working so extremely hard and I just think as the season goes on she’s gaining more and more confidence and today, to put a two-goal effort in, is just unbelievable for her.”
Now the goal for the Orange is to try and replicate the feat the accomplished on October 11, 2017, defeat the Miami Hurricanes (3-6-2, 0-4-1 Atlantic Coast), who come to the SU Soccer Stadium on Sunday.
email@example.com I @TomRusso24