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Saturday, Oct 20, 2018 at 12:35 am

Syracuse Falls Short on Emotional Senior Night

By Sam Rothman

Citrus TV Field Hockey Reporter

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The last time Syracuse (8-6, 1-5 Atlantic Coast) faced Louisville (12-4, 3-3 Atlantic Coast), the Cardinals defeated the Orange 3-2 to knock them out of the ACC tournament. On Friday, it looked like Syracuse would avenge that loss as SU held the lead with eight minutes left in regulation. But, Louisville scored two straight goals for the 3-2 double overtime win.

“You need to get the win in the end,” senior Roos Weers said. “Sometimes you have to play hard and you don’t win. Today, we played pretty but didn’t win.”

Weers shined on Syracuse’s senior night, scoring two goals on the Orange’s first two shots of the game. But, her strong performance fell short.

“We didn’t get the win and that’s the only thing I was here for,” Weers said.

For the seventh time this season, the Orange gave up the first goal of the game. Louisville controlled play from the start, applying pressure in the offensive zone. The Cardinals’ efforts paid off as Mercedes Pastor solved Borg van der Velde for the 1-0 lead just eight minutes into the game. However, van der Velde responded with back-to-back saves to escape further damage.

“I think the defense did a really good job keeping us in the game,” van der Velde said. “As long as you keep the goal clean, you get chances to win.”

Syracuse’s first shot of the game came on the penalty corner with under three minutes left in the first half. Weers fired a shot into the net after Claire Webb set the ball up for her off of Carolin Hoffman’s insertion. Weers celebrated with her teammates as her father Rob, who surprised her at practice, watched his daughter provide a spark for her team. He flew in from the Netherlands to see his daughter take the field at Coyne Stadium for the final time.

“I’ve played here for four years and they’ve watched every game at home,” Weers said. “For him to come and watch my last game, it just means that they care. I care about them and they have always supported me. It just meant a lot.”

It was a defensive battle for both teams in the second half, as neither team recorded a shot in the first 20 minutes. The Orange were awarded their second penalty corner of the game, and again, Weers found the back of the net. Despite the lack of offensive pressure, two shots were all that SU needed to take the 2-1 lead, thanks to Weers.

But, the senior’s strong effort wouldn’t be enough. Louisville tied the game late in the second half on what had worked so well for Syracuse in the game: the penalty corner. The Orange watched their strength become their weakness as the Cardinals then scored the game-winning goal in double overtime on the corner.

“I feel we failed them,” said SU head coach Ange Bradley. “We need to be better for our seniors. I care about them a lot and they deserve better than what we were able to do for them tonight.”

Syracuse rounds out ACC play with a 1-5 record, its worst performance since joining the conference in 2013.

“I’m disappointed we lost,” said Bradley. “This is the time of year you need to win. You’ve got to get it done.”

sbrothma@syr.edu | @samrothman_