Syracuse’s Youth Helps Topple Vermont in Season Opener
By Sam Rothman
Field Hockey Beat Reporter
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The last time Syracuse Field Hockey played Vermont, SU came away with a dominating 12-0 win back in 2011.
Fast forward to Friday’s matchup against the Catamounts (0-1, 0-0 America East) and the Orange (1-0, 0-0 Atlantic Coast) would record another victory, but this time in closer fashion. With underclassmen making up six of its eleven starters, the fresh new faces led Syracuse to a 4-1 win against Vermont.
The Orange grabbed the win, but it was the Catamounts who had the first opportunity of the day. Freshman Clodagh Ferry was awarded the first penalty corner of the game five minutes into the first half. Miscommunication by Vermont led to a Syracuse steal, but Olivia Herd regained possession for a shot on goal. However, SU goalkeeper Borg van der Velde stopped the rebound opportunity to keep UVM off the board.
Four minutes later, it was the Orange’s turn on the penalty corner. In a thirty-second span, Syracuse midfielder Jamie Martin took three shots on goal. But, all three attempts were saved by Vermont goalie Sierra Espeland to keep the game scoreless.
Just a minute later, SU was able to take advantage on its second penalty corner of the game. At 10:12 of the first, sophomore Kira Wimbert scored the first goal of her Syracuse career, and the Orange’s first goal of the season. Espeland made the initial save on freshman Tess Queen, but Wimbert capitalized on the rebound opportunity to give her team the 1-0 advantage.
But, Syracuse’s lead didn’t last long. Two minutes later, UVM sophomore Sydney Melfi scored on a penalty stroke to tie the game at one. But, after the Catamounts found the equalizer, the game turned completely Orange.
It may have been Laura Graziosi’s first time playing on turf, but the transition from grass to turf didn’t seem to bother the SU freshman. In her first game of the season, the midfielder scored the first goal of her collegiate career to give Syracuse the 2-1 lead with five minutes left in the first half.
After the freshman found the back of the net, it was now the veteran’s turn to get it done. Senior Roos Weers, two-time NFHCA All-American, grabbed her first goal of the season just two minutes later. Syracuse entered the locker room leading Vermont 3-1 after back-to-back goals to end the half.
The Orange’s strong play in the first half continued in the second. After scoring the first goal of her career, Wimbert recorded her first assist as she found a diving Chiara Gutsche in the circle. Gutsche put the ball past Espeland to give Syracuse the four-goal advantage. At the time of the goal however, there were two balls on the field. The goal was reviewed, but it ended up being a good goal, and SU came away with a 4-1 win its first game of the season. With the victory, Coach Bradley’s squad has now won twelve straight season openers.
Syracuse returns to action Sunday against Albany at 2 p.m.
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