FH : Syracuse dominates possession in win over Bison
Leonie Geyer crossed the 25-yard line and fired a pass to the approaching Heather Susek. Geyer’s feed from the right sideline met Susek as she ran toward the top of the shooting circle.
The Syracuse forward reached her stick over two Bucknell defenders and forced the ball toward the net. With the defenders behind her, Susek took a couple of dribbles, made Bucknell goalkeeper Erica Perrine commit and popped the ball over the diving goaltender into the back of the net for one of the few moments of execution by the Orange on Sunday.
‘I think I kind of knew she was going to go down, so I knew I had to lift it over her to get the goal,’ Susek said.
Susek took 12 shots to lead SU’s shooting barrage against the Bison as the No. 5 Orange (16-3, 5-1 Big East) defeated Bucknell (7-11, 2-3 Patriot League) 3-1 in front of 374 at J.S. Coyne Stadium on Sunday. The Orange produced its second-lowest scoring total against an unranked opponent this season despite drastically outplaying the Bison for the full 70 minutes. But Syracuse put enough goals on the board to earn its second victory of the weekend after edging Villanova 3-2 on the road Friday.
SU outshot Bucknell 34-2 and earned 12 penalty corners, compared to just two for the Bison. For lengthy periods of time, BU was unable to push the ball past the midfield line.
‘It was a game we controlled, and we dominated in every category except for the one that matters most,’ SU head coach Ange Bradley said. ‘We got the win, and it was a good game.’
The Orange was only able to break through three times, with the first goal coming courtesy of Susek in the 14th minute, just a few minutes after she had nearly one-timed a Geyer cross into the cage.
The tandem has developed excellent chemistry in its three years together, Susek said.
‘I just look for her to move the ball in, and just working with her, I know what holes are going to open and where to get the ball,’ Susek said.
Though Syracuse showed excellent ball movement and passing throughout the game, those quality finishes were few and far between. Every time the Orange appeared to have an open shot, the ball would sail wide of the net.
Geyer and Liz McInerney both had opportunities to score off corners, but each of their rockets veered left of the target.
In fact, none of SU’s goals came on outside shots. Susek netted her goal from just a few feet away, while Kelsey Millman and Stephanie Hussey both scored standing next to the post after inbounding on a corner.
Hussey’s score put SU ahead 3-0 in the 52nd minute and all but sealed the victory for the Orange.
After sending the ball into play, she immediately bolted toward the net. Hussey cleaned up Iona Holloway’s strike, which headed left of net, and guided it past Perrine.
Senior midfielder Martina Loncarica said the Orange has to convert more of its outside shots moving forward. SU generated plenty of opportunities on Sunday, but came away empty-handed too often.
And that needs to change as the Orange enters postseason play.
‘We need to get our focus a little bit more intensely for next time,’ Loncarica said. ‘We’ll finish next time.’
SU’s next opportunity will come against Villanova on Friday in the opening round of the Big East tournament. If the Orange wants to beat the Wildcats for the second time in as many weekends, Loncarica said the team has to pay closer attention to detail.
To advance in the Big East and NCAA tournaments, Syracuse can’t squander the same opportunities it did against the Bison.
‘We would have liked to win this game by a higher result, as we had a bunch of shots, but sometimes it doesn’t go as we want it to go,’ Loncarica said.
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