What To Expect In This Week’s Syracuse vs. Virginia Series
By Tara Arya
CitrusTV Field Hockey Reporter
It has been 318 days since Syracuse played a field hockey match and the wait is almost over. After months of uncertainty and new safety protocols, the Orange head to Charlottesville this weekend to take on UVA and open their season. Virginia already had their chance to test the waters in the ACC with a series against Wake Forest this past weekend.
The Cavaliers finished their 2019 season losing in the NCAA Semifinals to Princeton. After a whirlwind of an off-season, UVA needed the first match against Wake Forest to take some of the rust off of their game. They took a 1-0 lead early on, then the Demon Deacons scored twice in the second half to upset Virginia in their season opener. The Cavaliers had two goals in the first half whistled off by officials. They held a 10-4 advantage in shots in the first half, but were outshot 14-2 in the second.
The second match, the only one that counted towards the ACC standings, was a different story. Virginia had the lone goal in the fourth quarter and held on to win the game. One thing that stood out: how many players would join the rotation in Sunday’s game.
Syracuse and Virginia will play twice in 48 hours, an unusual scenario in the schedule, but what is now going to be routine for the Fall. UVA Head Coach Michele Madison said her strategy on Sunday was to get as many players involved as needed to manage the physical toll on her players playing two games in such a short amount of time.
Both teams will have time to regroup and strategize after the first match, which could create some interesting game scenarios- a big reason UVA was able to change their strategy and come back with a win in the second game of their series against Wake Forest.
Syracuse will be at a disadvantage Friday, playing their first game in several months against a UVA team that got reps in last week. The Orange will be facing a tough defensive team and offensively will have to put pressure on sophomore goalkeeper Taylor Henriksen, who tallied nine saves in UVA’s loss Friday. Henriksen recorded her first win on Saturday, after a redshirt freshman season in 2018 and little playing time last year.
The Orange will have to take advantage of Henriksen’s lack of experience in net for the Cavaliers and look to attack early on. This becomes even more important when thinking of the goalie scenario between Syd Taylor and Emily Streib who will also be pushing for their spot in the net after Sarah Sinck held it down last season.
UVA’s scoring struggles were clear in the series and it’s going to take time for them to adjust without Anzel Hall (formerly Viljoen). She was the offensive anchor as well as a member of their strong backline defense and Syracuse should have the confidence defensively compete.
Friday’s game at 3 p.m. will be the only one in the series to count towards the ACC standings, but makes it that much more important for Syracuse to come out strong in their season opener. The following game will be played Sunday at noon.
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