Syracuse Shuts Out Albany for First Ranked Win of the Season
By Sam Rothman
Field Hockey Beat Reporter
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — After a three-goal performance in the first half against Vermont on Friday, No. 11 Syracuse struggled to find that same success on Sunday against No. 21 Albany. It took awhile for SU to find any offensive production, having to wait until the second half to get its first shot of the day. However, the Orange capitalized on that first opportunity, as Senior Roos Weers capitalized on a set piece at the beginning of the second period, the only goal of the day as Syracuse (2-0 ACC) took down its first ranked opponent of the year with a 1-0 win over Albany (0-1 America East).
On Friday, the Orange came out swinging and applied its offensive pressure right out of the gate. However on Sunday, it would be the Great Danes who controlled the game in the first half. Just 20 seconds into the matchup, Syracuse’s Borg van der Velde was tested as Katie MacCallum, Albany’s leading scorer last season, took the first shot of the game. But, van der Velde made the save to keep the Great Danes off the board.
After that early opportunity, there wasn’t much action in the circle due to a strong backline effort on both ends of the field. But, Albany was given another chance to take the lead on the first penalty corner of the game halfway through the first. Albany’s Frederike Helmke, the 2017
America East Defensive Player of the Year, couldn’t get a shot on goal thanks to the stout Syracuse back line.
In the final minutes of the first half, the Great Danes had three straight chances on the penalty corner to find the back of the net. On the second corner, Borg van der Velde made a great save on Dana Bozak, but Helmke recovered the rebound and drew another penalty. Miscommunication on the corner led to a break for Syracuse as it was able to escape the half without any damage.
Finally, the Orange managed to take the lead early in the second half. Just under two minutes in, Syracuse finally had its first penalty corner of the game. The Orange wasn’t able to get a shot off, but Roos Weers pointed out a dangerous play in the circle to the referee and after video review, SU was awarded another opportunity. Weers took Syracuse’s first shot on goal and made it count as the senior fired the ball past Albany goalkeeper Melissa Nealon for her second goal of the season. After a rough start to the game, all of a sudden the Orange had a 1-0 lead.
The Great Danes didn’t make things easy for the Orange after SU took the lead. Albany had five straight chances on the penalty corner in the final minutes of regulation, but Syracuse’s strong defensive effort helped keep the Great Danes off the scoreboard.
With 25 seconds left in regulation, Albany was awarded a penalty corner. In those remaining seconds, the Great Danes had multiple chances to tie the game after they drew five straight penalty corners. But, Albany wasn’t able to capitalize. The SU defense stayed patient and got the clear on the fifth opportunity to grab the Orange’s eighth straight win against the in-state rival and move to 14-1 all-time against the Great Danes.
The key to the shutout was the woman in between the pipes. Borg van der Velde was not going to be beaten on Sunday. The sophomore saved the five shots on net that Albany sent her way.
After posting a 2-0 record at home to start the season, Syracuse now has to leave the friendly confines of J.S. Coyne Stadium to head to the Wild Wild West for a matchup against Stanford next Saturday.
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