Syracuse Spreads the Wealth in Victory over Wake Forest
By Patrick Gunn
CitrusTV Field Hockey Beat Reporter
The final goal for Syracuse Field Hockey came on a breakaway play from Laura Graziosi. She took a pass from Olivia Graham, tipped it up with her stick to get it by a Wake Forest defender, and raced towards the net. She then fired a laser in the top right corner of the net to extend the Orange’s lead to two goals.
That play signified the Orange’s effort against the Demon Deacons.
“I think we just really stuck with the values from our team like passion, aggression,” Forward Carolin said about the team’s performance.
That passion and aggression was on full display as No. 15 Syracuse (10-5, 2-3 Atlantic Coast) found their offensive mojo to take down No. 20 Wake Forest (7-9, 0-5 Atlantic Coast) 4-2. The win provides not only a crucial second victory in the ACC going into tournament play, but it also reestablished Syracuse’s passing game, leading to more scoring opportunities.
After being outshot 51 to 28 over their previous four games, the Orange outshot the Demon Deacons 13 to four. The Orange also had eight penalty corner chances, which is the total amount of corners they had over that same four-game stretch.
The difference tonight was a much stronger performance from the midfield passing game. That aggression I mentioned earlier came from a fast-moving midfield, starting with Graziosi and SJ Quigley and extending throughout the whole team. The strong midfield kept Wake Forest off-balance and out of Syracuse’s circle.
“We got pressure on them quick and closed down lanes and really limited their options for them,” Head Coach Ange Bradley said about the team’s passing performance. “I thought that’s what helped us control the first half, and I’m really happy with what they did tonight.”
There was only one point in the game where Syracuse was not in control. That came in the first two minutes and 21 seconds of the second half. The Demon Deacons wiped away a two-goal deficit with two quick strikes, a period in which Bradley said her team was “taking a nap.” One-off a corner for Meike Lanckohr and another during a power play for Alexis Grippo.
However, that brief spike in momentum was nothing more than a passing trend. Syracuse did not allow another Wake Forest shot for the rest of the game, and Quigley gave Syracuse the lead right back off a penalty corner deflection. Graziosi then doubled it with that previously mentioned strike fewer than two minutes later.
Quigley credited her team’s strong bond to come together after that brief rough patch.
“We make sure that we come together and connect after something like that happens,” Quigley said.
Aside from those two minutes, Syracuse played arguably its most complete offensive game of the season. After seeing Charlotte de Vries score more than half of their previous goals, Syracuse had four goals by four different players today. The freshman forward did score Syracuse’s first goal of the game, but that was it. The match was a fantastic display of ball movement and teamwork by the Syracuse offense.
“It was great,” Bradley said about the team’s improved offensive performance. “And this is where we’ve talked the last few weeks that we’re starting to move the ball better and the timing piece and all those things came into place tonight. That’s the result of our patterns that we’ve been working on.”
Syracuse will need to keep up its offense for its final home game of the season. The Orange host Cornell – a team that defeated Syracuse 2-1 in Ithaca earlier this year – on Sunday. This game is also senior day, marking the final home game of back Claire Webb and midfielder Stephanie Harris.
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