Syracuse defeats Penn 2-1 in shootout
By Sam Rothman
CitrusTV Field Hockey Reporter
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — For the fifth time this season, the Orange went into the halftime locker room looking to catch up to their opponent. On Friday, Syracuse came back to defeat Pacific 3-2 in overtime. On Sunday, the Orange needed a little bit more time and space to grab the win. Syracuse (6-3, 0-2 Atlantic Coast) scored three times in the shootout, while Borg van der Velde stopped all Penn’s (4-4, 1-0 Ivy) penalty strokes for the 2-1 win.
“We got the shots that we needed to win,” Head Coach Ange Bradley said of the first shootout for Syracuse since the 2014 NCAA Tournament Semifinals against North Carolina. “The difference is you’re in a one-on-one. There’s a big difference.”
The Orange looked to be on the verge of a goal from the opening minutes. Syracuse started the game with two straight opportunities on the penalty corner. On their first chance, Roos Weers’ shot was blocked and on the second, the senior’s shot went wide.
For the first ten minutes of the matchup, Syracuse had the momentum and spent time in the offensive zone. However, with 24 minutes left in the first, the Quakers started to establish possession and they made it count. Julia Russo fired a shot from the center of the circle past SU goalkeeper Emma Likly for the early 1-0 lead.
With less than two minutes left in the half, Penn almost extended its lead. Madison Jiranek was one-on-one with Likly, but thanks to the post, Syracuse ended the half trailing by just one.
During halftime, Borg van der Velde started warming up and taking practice shots. After giving up the early goal, Likly’s first start of the season was done and van der Velde took over in goal.
At the beginning of the second half, the Orange was awarded back-to-back penalty corner opportunities once again. However, Syracuse faced the same result. After Weers’ first shot was blocked, the Orange had a second-chance opportunity. Once again, the shot went wide, this time from freshman Laura Graziosi. At this point in the contest, Syracuse was outshooting Penn 6-3, but the Quakers held the ultimate advantage on the scoreboard.
Eventually, the perseverance for SU paid off. Syracuse found the back of the net ten minutes into the second half thanks to their underclassmen. Freshman Laura Graziosi fired a shot from outside the circle, and Chiara Gutsche tipped in the ball for the equalizer. The sophomore now leads the team in scoring with six goals on the season.
Both teams traded chances late in the game, but for the second time in one weekend, the game couldn’t be decided in regulation. The first overtime period ended the way it started, and Syracuse entered double overtime for the second time this season.
Just one minute into the second overtime, both Claire Webb and Kira Wimbert were dealt yellow cards. Facing sudden death, Syracuse was down two players. But, the Orange survived as Borg van der Velde stood tall in goal.
“Gutsy performance to have four players in overtime and be able to withstand the cards,” said Bradley. “We managed it.”
For the first time this season, Syracuse’s fate would be decided in a shootout.
After both Claire Webb and Roos Weers found the back of the net on their penalty strokes, van der Velde had to make her third stop of the shootout. The sophomore had a simple mentality heading into the crucial play.
“Just get it done,” said van der Velde. “Keep it out.”
And she did, saving all three of penalty strokes in the shootout.
All eyes then focused on Carolinn Hoffman as the Orange just needed one more goal to come out with the win. The sophomore got past Penn goalkeeper Ava Rosati and fired the ball into the back of the cage. Hoffman’s teammates immediately stormed up the field to celebrate with her.
“It’s an opportunity to win and finish the game,” said Hoffman. “Borg had the saves, Roos and Claire scored too. Anyone could’ve finished it. In the end, I stepped up and did it.”
In attendance for Sunday’s matchup was the 2008 Syracuse field hockey team. Under Coach Bradley, the squad reached the Final Four for the first time in program history. Bradley said seeing them in the stands for the dramatic win made it even more special.
“Having the women back here from 2008, they were our foundation during my era,” said Bradley. “To have them in the house to see this, it was nice. It was nice for them to see the toughness and heart.”
After a five-game home stand, Syracuse heads down to North Carolina for an ACC matchup with the No. 1 ranked Tar Heels on Saturday.
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