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Saturday, Sep 16, 2017 at 3:27 pm

Field Hockey Loses First Game of Season to Wake Forest

By Jonah Karp

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — When the Syracuse Field Hockey team entered J.S. Coyne Stadium on Saturday for itseighth game of the 2017 season, it was undefeated.

Not only was the No. 3 Orange undefeated, it hadn’t played an overtime game yet. Perhaps even more impressive than all of that, Syracuse had held opponents scoreless all season long. It took an unranked Wake Forest team to rewrite that narrative.

The Demon Deacons took down Syracuse 2-1 after forcing an overtime period.

The first half was a defensive chess match, with both teams putting up goose eggs heading into halftime.

After the break, both teams were intent on pitching a shutout. After nearly 49 minutes, it was Syracuse that broke the ice. Graduate forward Elaine Carey found the back of the net off the assist by junior forward Jennifer Bleakney to give the Orange a 1-0 lead.

That goal was the fifth of the season for Carey. She explained that she really ended up making something out of nothing.

“We kind of needed a scrappy sort of just get in there, try to get in the goal,” she said. “I just saw the ball loose and I tried to put it in and it worked out.”

That goal, however, didn’t give Syracuse any momentum. In fact, that goal just turned the chess match from defensive to offensive.

Less than three minutes later, junior forward Jule Grashoff scored for Wake Forest to tie the score 1-1. That goal from Grashoff was the first the Orange has allowed in nearly 542 minutes this season.

That remained the score until the end of regulation.

The first overtime period began five minutes later and it didn’t take long for the Demon Deacons to put the nail in the coffin. Sophomore forward Nicola Pluta put it in 87 seconds into the sudden death overtime to seal the 2-1 victory for Wake Forest.

It is not uncommon for a dominant stretch, like the Orange had, to become the story. The question becomes: Can it maintain its dominance?

Head coach Ange Bradley suggested that removing the monkey off the team’s back is not the most relieving feeling.

“I’m never glad to lose,” she said. “How can you be glad to lose?”

Bradley went on to offer some insight into how her players intend to move forward following the first loss of the season.

“They watch the game,” she says. “They debrief themselves and debrief in their units, the same thing we always do, and whether you win or lose, you move on.”

Bradley spoke to her players on two separate occasions for a number of minutes following the loss. Carey said that her coach wasn’t frustrated, so much as motivational.

“She just said we have a lot more games to go,” Carey explains. “This was only our second ACC game. There’s a lot more to go, so we just have to shift focus and keep moving forward.”

When asked about how her team plans to handle its next opponent, Bradley was short and to the point.

“Quite honestly, I’m not there yet,” she said.

Syracuse returns home on Sunday to host Rutgers at 2 p.m.