Syracuse to Host ACC Front-Runner Louisville This Friday
By Tara Arya
CitrusTV’s Field Hockey Beat Reporter
The final game of the regular season and the first home game for Syracuse comes this Friday. The Orange enter this Halloween weekend with a game against a Louisville team that has not dropped a game so far this season.
Syracuse will have nearly two weeks since their last game against Wake Forest to prepare for the best team in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Their stellar defense led to goals on the offensive end versus the Demon Deacons and they will need to polish both sides of their game if they want to upset Louisville.
Looking closer at this Louisville team, they have been able to do just that, turn their defense into offense. They put up three goals against two-time reigning champ UNC and seven goals in their double-header against defensive machine, Virginia. In the seven games they’ve played this season, they held teams to one goal or less in every game except one.
On the offensive end, they have Mercedes Pastor, who is tied for the most goals scored in the ACC this season. Pastor has six goals scored in seven games played this season on 34 shots, with 20 of those on goal. She is going to be tough on this Syracuse defense, but they have shown their grit throughout this season defending teams. Goalie Syd Taylor will need help from players like Eefke van den Niewenhof who leads the ACC in defensive saves as well as SJ Quigley, Sienna Pegram and others on the backline defense.
The Cardinals defense will make it difficult to get a goal against Louisville. The Cardinals have the best goals against average in the ACC, thanks to goalie Hollyn Barr stopping teams from landing one in the net. The Orange will need Charlotte de Vries to keep heating up offensively and also look towards Florine van Boetzelaer, SJ Quigley and the rest of the offense to get one past the Cardinals.
Syracuse has struggled to get going offensively this season and so far have relied on their defense to keep them in the game. That will be even tougher this week against a Louisville team who can not only create opportunities for goals, but can also shut down other team’s offensive efforts. The Orange will have to get things going early if they want to challenge the best team in the ACC.
On the bright side, Syracuse finally gets to play a game at home after postponing their last two home series due to COVID-19 protocol. It will certainly help having eleven days practicing on their playing field to prepare for Friday’s game. On the other side, Louisville will be on the road for three weeks coming into this game and Syracuse will look to capitalize on their home field advantage.
Friday’s game versus top-ranked Louisville will be played at home at J.S. Coyne Stadium at 2 p.m. Fans will not be allowed to attend but can catch live scoring updates online. This game will count towards ACC standings.
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