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Friday, Sep 27, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Morale Fading as Syracuse Shutout by No. 22 Louisville

By Tom Russo

CitrusTV Women’s Soccer Beat Reporter

Even with a match postponed due to a food-borne illness victimizing nearly the entire visiting team, Coach Nicky Adams still saw the strangest occurrence of the weekend happen on the pitch.

“I was really disappointed in the way we came out. I was not expecting that,” said Adams. “I thought we had good energy coming up into this game. So honestly I was a bit shocked with how energetic we were when the whistle blew.”

That’s because when the whistle blew, Syracuse (2-5-2, 0-1-1 Atlantic Coast) was mainly standing still. No. 22 Louisville (8-1, 1-1 Atlantic Coast) certainly was not.

It took precisely 35 seconds for the Cardinals to fly right by the Orange defense, and before you could even say goal Delaney Snyder had No. 22 Louisville up 1-0.

34 minutes later Corrine Dente launched a perfect shot from beyond the 18 to extend the Cardinals’ lead to 2-0.

In the 75th minute, Emina Ekic officially put the game on ice with a perfect strike, and No. 22 Louisville cruised to a comfortable 3-0 victory.
But it wasn’t the goals that had Adams’ head spinning on the sideline.

“I’ll give Louisville a lot of credit,” said Adams. “I thought the three goals they scored were clinical. I mean [Ekic], upper 90, there’s not a goalkeeper that can really make those saves. Those were three clinical finishes.”

The problem for the coach was her team’s inability to take significantly easier opportunities and bury them.

“In the first half I didn’t think we played well, but we still created two breakaway chances where we could put two away in the first half and then we’re looking at a different second half,” said Adams.

“Overall I’m really disappointed in our presence and being here to compete,” said Adams. “I thought we were not good. I thought we had a very selfish mentality in terms of defending, that’s not normal for this group. So, I’m pretty disappointed.”

And Coach was not the only one voicing her displeasure with the performance. Senior captain Georgia Allen echoed Adams’ frustrations.
“We have to fight,” said Allen. “That’s the simple part. You see a ball you have to go get it. And that wasn’t there today.”

Senior Taylor Bennett agreed that the team has to go back and reassess its heart.

“It came down to a lack of heart from us,” said Bennett. “We need to really take a gut check and fix ourselves first before we look at the outside opposition.”

Allen gave perhaps the most stinging indictment of the team’s play though.

“We have got 11 players that go on the field and if you don’t show the heart to wear this shirt and to be part of this university. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got 11 players or 33 players. At the end of the day if we’re not competing, we don’t deserve to be on the field,” said Allen.
Morale is fading in the locker room, and if the Orange don’t turn it around soon, they could find themselves in deep trouble.

“It’s on our shoulders to take the time out of practice and make sure we’re doing the extra work that we need to do,” said Allen. “We’ve gotta be disappointed with the small things, with the details that kids way younger than us would get wrong. That’s not the mistakes we make as ACC players so we need to take a long, hard look at ourselves and have some self-evaluation and self-reflection and see what we can do outside of practice.”

Syracuse doesn’t have much time to find that mojo again, because on Sunday things get even harder when No. 6 Florida State (8-2, 2-0 Atlantic Coast) comes to the SU Soccer Stadium.

twrusso@syr.edu  ǀ @TomRusso24