Women’s Soccer Falls to #4 Duke 2-0 on Senior Day
By Luke McGrath
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – It was a tale of two halves for the Syracuse women’s soccer team in Sunday’s 2-0 loss against #4 Duke. The Orange conceded two goals in the first half before playing the Blue Devils even in the second half.
Head coach Phil Wheddon described his team’s first half performance as anemic.
“I don’t think we created a lot in the first half, we seemed to be very passive and seeing what they were doing,” Wheddon said. “This is what coaching is about, it’s about challenging players to perform their best.”
In the locker room at the half, Wheddon said he challenged the team to not give in to a Blue Devils squad that has now won 16 games in a row.
“We dug a hole for ourselves, I challenged the team to come out in the second half and try and put together a performance they can be proud of and so what do you want to be remembered by from the fans that are watching you,” Wheddon said.
The team did just that creating more opportunities and adjusting formations to put together a stronger offensive attack.
Sunday’s loss was not the first time SU played a sluggish first half. Earlier this season against then #18 Wake Forest, the Orange gave up a first half goal before dominating the pace in the second half, but ultimately fell short.
Wheddon said it is a matter of the team realizing the team can compete with tougher opponents before the first whistle blows.
“They’ve got to be mentally and physically switched on and ready to play,” Wheddon said. “We can play with anyone in the country.”
SU is now officially eliminated from the ACC tournament and has its final game Thursday on the road against Virginia Tech. When the final whistle blew in the loss to Duke the Orange was not technically eliminated. However, the other ACC results Sunday officially ended Syracuse’s chances.
Departing senior defender Jessica Vigna is confident in the future of the SU program.
“There’s a very good recruiting class coming in and with a bunch of freshman already starting they already have a lot of exposure, they know what it’s like to play in the ACC so they should only get better from here,” Vigna said.
Wheddon agreed, saying that a great young core has the future looking bright.
“We’ve got a good freshman class coming in, the freshman class, our sophomores and our juniors really carry the program forward, we’ll be very very young next year but that’s an exciting prospect for any coach,” Wheddon said.