Takeaways From Field Hockey’s Opening Weekend
By Tara Arya
CitrusTV Field Hockey Beat Reporter
After a weekend of games against a strong Virginia team, the Orange begin their season winless at 0-2. On paper, that doesn’t look too good, but take a closer look and there is a lot of potential in this team.
The first game of the series, the only to count towards Atlantic Coast Conference standings, was definitely one they needed to get out of the way and get their gears moving. Syracuse’s defense looked polished, keeping an aggressive Virginia team scoreless until the last two minutes of the game. Offensively, however, the Orange struggled against the Cavaliers tough backline defense. They couldn’t get one to land and were outshot 4-1 in the first quarter and would later try and even things out, but it was Virginia player Laura Janssen who got one in the net to put things away at the 58th minute.
Syracuse’s defense was the key takeaway from the first game, especially able to keep up with a Virginia team that already had two games under their belt. Goalkeeping was one of the biggest concerns coming into the season after Sarah Sinck’s departure and Syd Taylor tallied four saves in her season debut, relieving some of the anxiety.
Both teams left the field with a little over a day to prepare for their rematch and Syracuse came into Sunday looking ready and confident to get revenge. The greatest takeaway from the second game was how well SU was able to go back to the drawing board and challenge the Cavaliers in their home.
It took a game and a half to warm up and a 2-0 deficit, but in the 35th minute SJ Quigley got the Orange on their feet and on the board with the first goal of the season. That was the energy the team needed to get back on their feet. 15 minutes later, Florine van Boetzelaer scored on the ACC Defensive Player of the Week, goalkeeper Taylor Henriksen, and evened the score at two.
The difference between the Orange in the first and second half was huge as they would push Virginia to the wire, eventually succumbing to a game-winning goal from Amber Ezechiels in the 76th minute. SJ Quigley had a big game with two shots, both on goal and one going in. Charlotte de Vries logged five shots and freshman Eefke van den Niewuwenhof tallied three. Syd Taylor continued to show she can hold it down in net with four saves, several of those in overtime.
So, what can the Orange look to do before their matchup with Boston College on Saturday? Attack early. It took a game and some change for Syracuse to get aggressive and earn their first goal and they fell behind in shots quickly. The matchup against BC can fare well, especially on the offensive end after BC was outshot 19-4 to Louisville in their opening game. It won’t be easy, as BC’s goalkeeper, Joanna Kennedy made nine saves on eleven shots in that game, making it challenging for Syracuse to get one in.
The Orange will have the week to prepare for their home opener against Boston College at noon Saturday. They won’t have much time to recover either as they play BC again Sunday at 11a.m.
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