Redshirt freshman Mary Rahal emerging on Syracuse midfield
Daily Orange File Photo
A few minutes into Saturday’s game, Syracuse midfielder Mary Rahal found herself handling the ball about 20 yards from the goal. She dodged a Boston College defender and looked to swing a pass to Nicole Levy beside the net. But the Eagles’ defense already smothered Levy.
With the defense concentrated away from the net, a lane to the goal opened up in front of Rahal’s eyes. The redshirt freshman sprinted directly on goal and fired to the back of the net.
One career shot, one career goal.
“She understood what was happening,” SU head coach Gary Gait said. “We talked about that situation, and she took it, got the opportunity and played with a lot of confidence after that.”
The No. 7 Orange (1-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) coasted to an 18-8 victory over No. 17 Boston College on Saturday in the Carrier Dome behind three goals and two assists from the young midfielder. After redshirting, Rahal is now a part of SU’s freshmen contingent looking to fill in the holes Kayla Treanor and Halle Majorana left in the Orange offense.
Scoring the Orange’s first goal on Saturday “definitely was” a strong way to dispel nerves, Rahal said. She hadn’t expected to have the impact she did on the Orange’s first game of the 2017 season.
“I was actually really nervous,” Rahal said. “I didn’t know how I was going to play this first game.”
Though Rahal’s game-opening goal began an 8-0 run that lasted nearly 10 minutes, she wasn’t the only Orange newcomer to step up in Saturday’s game. True freshman Emily Hawryschuk scored four goals on as many shots. Levy said before the season that the team is young and shouldn’t be judged on what they lost, but the talent added.
The duo of Rahal and Hawryschuk nearly combined for more goals than the entire Eagles’ offense, a stark contrast to the silent roles many freshmen are expected to play on college teams. Four Orange starters made their debuts Saturday and, while all weren’t as successful as Rahal and Hawryschuk, Gait said newcomers will provide much of the Orange’s offense.
“There’s going to be players who step up and have opportunities to have great games,” Gait said. “And it could be different next week.”
Published on February 12, 2017 at 10:48 pm
Contact Matt: firstname.lastname@example.org