Syracuse defense constricts Fairfield offense for 3-0 win
Alexandra Moreo | Photo Editor
In her limited time, Lysianne Proulx did not have much to do.
After a late second-half whistle blew the play dead, a stray kick sent the ball sailing toward the right side of her body. The goalie pivoted, wrapped her left leg behind her right and tapped the ball with the underside of her left cleat.
“Woo,” Taylor Bennett yelled, watching the move. She and Proulx cracked up laughing.
“I thought she was just going to catch it,” Bennett later laughed. “I was excited for her, it was a really good touch.”
That was one of the more active plays an SU goalkeeper had to make the entire game.
The Orange’s (4-1-1) defense limited Fairfield’s (2-2-0) offensive opportunities in its 3-0 win at SU soccer stadium, not allowing the Stags to possess the ball for long periods of time, as well as constricting its abilities to get inside the Orange box.
Syracuse allowed four shots Sunday afternoon, its the second-lowest mark this season, just two more than on Aug. 31 against Cornell. The one shot on goal SU allowed tied the season low set in the same game versus the Big Red.
“One of the things we want to do is be relentless on defense,” head coach Phil Wheddon said. “Be very good individual defenders, don’t force a play to happen. We did a good job of shutting them down.”
Alexandra Moreo | Photo Editor
In the 38th minute, on one of the Stags longer possessions, Fairfield hovered around the SU box for some time, passing the ball around and providing one of the few threats to the Orange defense all game. Despite the possession’s pressure and length, Syracuse deflected multiple passes and didn’t allow Fairfield to even enter the box. The play was called dead after a foul on the Stags and SU escaped one of its more dangerous moments.
The Orange defense, which has allowed just five goals in 53 opposing attempts this season, has limited opponents’ opportunities around the box. Syracuse’s speed also helped in the pursuit of some balls on defense, as Orange players could sprint out in front of the Fairfield players and swipe the ball out from beneath them.
From a physical standpoint, the Orange overpowered the Fairfield players with its strength and speed on any given play. Close battles for the ball were mostly won by the Orange and the physicality advantage seemed to alleviate some of the pressure off the SU defense.
“We were able to expose the flanks,” said Sydney Brackett said describing the team’s ability to attack the corners of the field. “That comes from the work we do in the offseason off the field, I think it’s showing.”
Brackett recorded her fourth goal of the season by taking advantage of her speed. Early on, she took the ball from midfield and burst in a straight line down the field, leaving Fairfield defenders trailing as she glided down the left sideline. That created an offensive opportunity for the Orange and kept the ball far away from the SU goalkeeper’s box.
“The system that Fairfield played allowed us to play within their lines,” Wheddon said. “Once we get to the ACC, our speed of play has to get quicker and our speed closing players down has to be better.
“I’m really happy with how our team’s coming together, (but) we’re going to have to play even quicker.”
Published on September 3, 2017 at 5:32 pm
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