Set Pieces Set Stage for Syracuse Shutout
By Tom Russo
CitrusTV Women’s Soccer Beat Reporter
There are few moments in a soccer match where play stops. But in those select instants comes the chance to run plays previously drawn up in practice. The set piece is certainly one of the golden opportunities for a team to score a goal and capitalizing on these moments is often the difference between victory and defeat.
Syracuse (2-0, 0-0 Atlantic Coast) certainly made the most of these stoppages in its 3-0 victory over Siena (0-2, 0-0 Metro Atlantic Athletic) on Thursday at the Syracuse Soccer Stadium. All three of the Orange’s goals came on set pieces, two goals set up by corner kicks and the third coming on a penalty kick.
Shannon Aviza opened the scoring in the 21st minute as she shot a low roller with pace inside the far post after the Orange controlled their third corner kick of the match.
Two minutes into the second half, Taylor Bennett earned a penalty kick after a Saint tripped her inside the box. She cooly buried her chance from the spot.
Finally in the 61st minute, Sydney Brackett made a run to the far post on the Orange’s fourth corner of the match and beat the Siena keeper to all but put the match out of reach.
SU goalie Lysianne Proulx also served as a brick wall in the net, saving 5 shots and never allowing a true threat to materialize for the Saints. The Montreal native posted back-to-back shutouts for the first time in her career in the win.
Thursday’s victory was a welcome change for Syracuse, coming on the heels of Sunday’s match where the Orange failed to convert any of the five set pieces into goals,
“Before the game started, we talked about how our goals were gonna come from set pieces tonight” said Bennett. “It was a big focus, we worked on it a lot during this week in practice, and it was just getting the job done and implementing what Coach Nicky [Adams] has taught us, and just be ball hawks and go for the ball.”
Brackett made it very clear just how important the set pieces are in the game.
“You can be off game-wise, your team rhythm can be off, not that I think we were tonight, but if you can make the most of your set pieces,” she said. “That’s why there are set pieces in a game, to give teams advantages if they earn them. So if you can make the most of those shots and be consistent with those shots, practice them enough so you know when you get here it’s gonna be in your favor, then that’s all you can hope for and tonight we did great at that.”
As for Coach Adams, she was proud of the team’s effort in Syracuse’s largest margin of victory since September of 2017.
“I feel like the sign of a good team is when you’re not playing that well and you still find a way to win, and that’s a big deal,” said Adams. “And hey, set pieces. Scoring on three set pieces, that’s awesome.”
However, the head woman recognizes the team still has work to do.
“I don’t necessarily think we played unbelievable,” said Adams with her son on her hip post-game.
Brackett also saw a flaw in the match: Her shooting. She had broken away down the right side, staring down the barrel of a brace, but she yanked the ball across the mouth of the goal.
“I think there was a magnet, in the far post, just pulling my ball,” said Brackett. “Gotta work on that.”
Nevertheless, the coach’s young son perhaps summed up the win best: “Momma good.”
Adams and company will look to stay “good” and unbeaten when they head to Dartmouth (0-0, 0-0 Ivy League) on Sunday.
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