Field Hockey

No. 2 Syracuse field hockey wreaks havoc with counter attack in 3-0 win over Indiana

Kali Bowden | Staff Photographer

Syracuse's transition from defense to offense created odd-player opportunities and goals on the offensive end.

Lies Lagerweij pushed the ball forward with a powerful stroke to Elaine Carey. From Carey, the ball moved to a streaking Liz Sack.

As Sack approached the circle, she nudged the ball forward past an Indiana defender to Emma Tufts. Tufts was denied on the doorstep by Indiana goalie Katie Johnson for one of her season high eleven saves. But the precision passing on the breakout was noteworthy.

“Our link up was good,” Lagerweij said. “We were closer to each other so it was more, small pass, long pass, small pass. … (We had) a little more variety in our passing and a high tempo today.”

Quick transition from defense to offense created odd-player opportunities, leading to the first two goals as No. 2 Syracuse (14-2, 4-2 Atlantic Coast) blanked Indiana (8-11, 3-5 Big Ten) 3-0 in SU’s fourth shutout of the season. Syracuse outshot Indiana 22 to five on Sunday at J.S Coyne Stadium. The Hoosiers’ goalie made several impressive stops on the counter attack chances, saving Indiana from giving up more transition goals.

The final regular season game of the year for the Orange capped off an undefeated season on its home turf.

Second-seeded Syracuse will play host school No. 18 and seventh-seeded Wake Forest (10-7, 0-6 Atlantic Coast) in the first round of ACC tournament on Thursday at 1:30 p.m.

“Last game we were so close to getting a shutout and we lost it in the last four minutes,” goalie Regan Spencer said. “So being able to come out and get the shutout today, I think was a big confidence booster for us headed into the post season.”

On SU’s first goal, Sack gathered the ball in Syracuse’s own zone and darted down the field. After a missed opportunity from Sack, Emma Lamison set up Erin Gillingham, who played the ball off an Indiana player, earning a corner for SU.

Laura Hurff scored off the corner that was earned via the Orange’s transition offense.

“Stay tight,” head coach Ange Bradley yelled in the direction of her players in the midst of a clear. (Bradley declined to speak to the media after the game.) This cohesion from the backfield up to the forwards led to Syracuse’s second goal of the game.

Faced with one of the two Indiana corners in the game, Orange defenders darted toward the Indiana shooter. Sack blocked the shot with her body, denying an Indiana opportunity to score a game-tying goal.

SU sent the ball deep down the field before most Indiana players had time to recover. Carey took advantage of the odd-player situation as she worked goal-line extended before finding Tufts for an aerial goal that arced over the goalie’s head.

“We really worked on that counter control and countering,” Tufts said. “We just want get that quick counter and catch them on their heels.”

Spencer needed only three saves to secure the shutout. The Orange allowed only two corners in the game. Its tenacious defense kept Indiana off the board and turned into offense.

On several occasions, Sack and Carey intercepted passes turning defense into quick strike offensive opportunities. With Indiana defenders caught off guard, Syracuse forwards wasted no time, as they immediately brought the ball to the Indiana cage.

In the regular season-ending win over Indiana on Sunday, efficient transitions opened up the field for the Orange, creating high-chance opportunities and powering the offense.

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