Syracuse’s season ends in first round of NCAA tournament, 1-0, after defense finally cracks against No. 3-seed Michigan

first_img Published on November 11, 2017 at 1:38 pm Contact Andrew: | @A_E_Graham ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan only needed 1:24 to end Syracuse’s season.After Syracuse overcame a slow start, as well as losing Elaine Carey to a red card and allowing several penalty corners late in the game, the Wolverines’ Meg Dowthwaite waltzed into Syracuse’s arc and was the first player all afternoon to beat a goalie.“It was just a good ball in, to be honest with you,” Dowthwaite said, “I was open and then it just went past the goalie’s right foot.”As her shot flitted past Syracuse goalie Borg van der Velde’s right foot, seniors Erin Gillingham and Laura Hurff collapsed on the field. They were each outside the arc, away from the play that ended their Syracuse careers.“These kids played their hearts out,” SU head coach Ange Bradley rasped. She had lost her voice yelling during the match. “They wanted to win and they came to win here today and when you have five versus six … it’s tough to cover everything.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textOn Saturday at Ocker Field on Michigan’s campus, the No. 3 seeded Wolverines (20-2, 8-0 Big Ten) dropped No. 14 seeded Syracuse (12-7, 2-4 Atlantic Coast), 1-0 in overtime, to end the Orange’s season in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Neither team’s defense ceded ground for 70 minutes, and Syracuse held off a relentless Wolverine attack down a player for the final 18 minutes. But Syracuse, a team winless in overtime heading into Saturday, lost in the extra period for the fourth time in as many tries this season.“We were even with them defensively,” Bradley said. “We played a really good game today and we had an unfortunate situation.”Bradley had preached a defense-first style since the beginning of the season, and Saturday, the unit took control of the game for as long as it could.Just more than five minutes into the game, after steadily ratcheting up the pressure, the Wolverines earned a penalty corner, but the shot went wide right. Six minutes later, a Michigan chance skittered in front of freshman goalie Borg van der Velde, but a good defensive play from Jamie Martin locked up a would-be goal scorer.Then, just as it has tried to do all season, Syracuse started to use its defense as a catalyst for offense. Junior back Roos Weers fired crisp passes down the field at every opportunity, connecting her stick with attackers’ with surgical precision.Each team had a penalty corner and Syracuse led the shots tally in the first half, 4-2. It was the defensive game everyone expected when both teams left the field at halftime, tied with no score.Even when Michigan earned a penalty corner minutes into the second half, midfielder Laura Hurff pressured the ball, forcing a wide-angle shot easily saved by van der Velde.Courtesy of Syracuse AthleticsEven when Elaine Carey took a red card with about 18 minutes left and put the Orange down a player, Syracuse’s defense held strong. Bradley and her players didn’t see what Carey did to get red-carded, they said. “To be able to play 18 minutes a player down…” Hurff said. “There’s no other team in this country that can do that. I fully believe that.”With Carey gone and a hole up top, Syracuse struggled to possess the ball forward down the field. Instead, the Orange opted to pack in the back line, relying on the defense and vulturing counter-attack opportunities.Frequently, Hurff countered. She won balls on the wing and took off. As she flew up the sideline, promise in the chances grew. But every time, a Michigan defender, free of obligation due to Carey’s ejection, inevitably blocked her way. “We were able to keep the pressure on them,” Hurff said, “and keep going after them, even a player down,”As the clock rolled under four minutes, Michigan threw a flurry of shots at the Syracuse net, and somehow, someway, van der Velde and the SU defense kept the scoreboard at goose eggs. With under two minutes left Lies Lagerweij got deked badly, but Weers swooped in to stop the chance.Not even a Michigan penalty corner with 59.7 seconds left cracked the shell and the game headed to overtime.“They didn’t let down at all,” Bradley said.But when the game finally went to overtime, and each team was a goal away from extending its seasons, Syracuse’s defense, which had dominated the entire game, lapsed.After the game, sitting at a folding table in the lobby of the U-M Building just feet from where SU won its 2015 national championship, Hurff, Lagerweij and Bradley grappled with the hard comprehension. As Lagerweij reflected on her Syracuse career, Hurff hung her head and covered her face to mask her tears. Bradley stared straight ahead.“Of course, there’s a lot of good memories of the past four years,” Lagerweij said, “some of the best ones were actually here. “It’s something to reflect on, this emotion.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Wikki Turn Attention to League after FA Cup Exit

first_imgWikki Tourists midfielder, Harrison Madu has said his side have shifted 100 per cent attention on the top-flight after a shocking ouster in the Federation Cup.The Bauchi-based side were stunned 3-4 on penalties by the Nigeria National League (NNL) side, Crown FC after full time score stood goalless in Wednesday’s Federation Cup quarterfinals clash at the Confluence Stadium in Lokoja.Madu said his side were opportune to avoid the penalties but failed to make several chances at goal count positively. “We had several chances at goal to win the clash within regulation time but could not make it count and penalties are anybody game and it proves exactly.“We never bargained to lose the Cup quarterfinals clash against lower division side, Crown FC. Of course, we did not underrate the side but approached the match like any other top-flight match.“We were aware that Crown FC caused Enugu Rangers elimination from the Cup campaign. Well the Cup dream has been dashed we are heading straight from Lokoja to Uyo for the top-flight matchday 29 clash at Akwa United on Sunday.“Our 100 per cent focus has been shifted on the league, we have to concentrate fully on winning the league shield. The Cup ouster could turn out to be a blessing in disguise now that we just have the league to hit the continent,” said the Wikki Tourists playmaker to Tourists lead the 19-team top-flight on 47 points same as second placed side, Enugu Rangers but on superior goalsShare this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more