Orange Come Back Down to Earth in 2-1 Loss to Miami
By Tom Russo
CitrusTV Women’s Soccer Beat Reporter
Just when it looked like Syracuse (3-8-2, 1-4-1 Atlantic Coast) appeared to have turned a corner in Thursday’s victory of Wake Forest (5-5-4, 0-3-3 Atlantic Coast). But it has become a common theme this season that just as the Orange appear to have made a breakthrough, they revert to where they started.
Syracuse started the year 2-0, inspiring confidence that the team had turned a corner after last year’s 3-15 campaign. Instead, the Orange failed to win another game for almost a month and a half after that 2-0 start, featuring seven losses and two draws before Thursday’s win ended the 42 days winless streak.
Even during that stretch, though, there were positives that seemed to be dashed invariably. Take the back-to-back draws; a 0-0 draw with Fordham (4-8-3, 3-2-1 Atlantic 10), followed by a 1-1 draw with Pittsburgh (4-7-3, 1-3-2 Atlantic Coast), which featured Syracuse’s first goal in six matches. The draws brought an end to a four-match losing streak and suggested the team could get back to their winning ways.
Instead, the Orange took a 3-0 beating at the hands of a No. 22 Louisville (11-1-1, 4-1-1 Atlantic Coast) team recovering from food poisoning, where Syracuse gave up the first goal in 35 seconds.
But again, hope was revived when the Orange held No. 6 Florida State (11-3, 5-1 Atlantic Coast) scoreless for 73 minutes, and only fell 1-0.
Naturally, that game was followed up with a 3-0 loss to Notre Dame (9-4-1, 3-2-1 Atlantic Coast), a match where Syracuse failed to attempt a single shot.
So, it really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that following their first ACC win in almost two years, Syracuse followed it up with a disappointing 2-1 loss to Miami (4-6-2, 1-4-1 Atlantic Coast). A Miami team that was one of only two teams below the Orange in the standings. The other being Wake Forest.
“Our press was probably better in the first half,” said sophomore Meghan Root, who scored Syracuse’s only goal in the match, and her third in the last two games; she had both goals against Wake Forest. “Honestly, we were a bit sloppy today; it was not good enough.”
After Tia Dupont opened the scoring for the Hurricanes in the 10th minute with a tap-in off a Kristina Fisher cross, Root answered not even a minute later with a beauty from the 18 into the right upper 90. Dupont’s goal was the only shot the Orange surrendered in the first half.
In the second half, things turned for the worse, as the Hurricanes unleashed a storm of shots, letting loose 16 in the second half. Bayleigh Chaviers took the third rebound in a series of shots in the 83rd minute and headed it into a wide-open goal, as Lysianne Proulx had fallen into the back of the net following a save.
“We looked tired, especially in the second half,” said head coach Nicky Adams. “Two teams that are looking for wins and I thought the second half Miami wanted it more than we did. That’s the disappointing part. We let ourselves down technically. We defend really well, and then we just keep giving the ball right back to them instead of knocking it around and trying to force them to defend a bit so disappointed in that.”
Disappointment turned to frustration as the Orange were issued two yellow cards in the second. One to Shannon Aviza and one to Taylor Bennett, as the team became increasingly confrontational with the officials.
“I think it was just general frustration,” said Root. “I don’t think we were playing at the caliber we wanted to, so it gets frustrating at times.”
“Honestly, I think it just comes down to mentality,” said senior Sydney Brackett. “I think coming off of last Thursday, we were definitely on a high, but these sorts of situations are definitely hard to replicate, and I think we need to do a better job of putting ourselves back in that feeling, that place, that emotion.”
The team had a simple answer to how they can turn things back on the upswing, though.
“Soccer’s a complicated sport, but it’s also not,” said Brackett. “Just executing the simple things and not overthinking the small stuff, that’s how you’re gonna be successful.”
“We need to just manage what we can manage,” said Root. “There’s gonna be day’s when you’re gonna have bad touches or bad whatever, but we can always control our mentality and our work ethic, so it’s managing the controllables.”
The coach laid it out simply.
“We talked about it before the game, you’re gonna make mistakes, but that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world,” said Adams. “We made plenty of mistakes against Wake Forest. We were down 1-0, and we came back and won 2-1. We made a mistake! So yeah, I would say I’m a bit frustrated with them getting frustrated. It’s gonna happen that’s what’s crazy about soccer. Ups and downs, and we gotta be able to be disciplined enough going forward so that little moments like that don’t define the rest of the game for us.”
The bad news for Syracuse, though, is that their schedule only gets harder from here, with three of their final four matches coming against top-15 opponents, and the next three games come on the road. It starts on Saturday with a trip to No. 9 Clemson at 7:00 p.m.
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