Senior day slide for Syracuse women, fall 2-0 to Duke

Two first half goals enough for Duke to defeat the Orange

Syracuse women’s soccer had their last home game Sunday afternoon at SU Soccer Stadium, where they were defeated by No. 4 Duke Blue Devils 2-0.

The Orange tried to play some balls up front, but Duke’s defense kept standing them up.

Duke midfielder Ella Stevens set the ball up with a through pass into the box to forward Kayla McCoy. McCoy swung the ball out to her left, took a shot, and pocketed the ball in the far right of the net, putting Duke up 1-0 after eight minutes.

In attempt to counter attack the Blue Devils, the Orange tried to push the ball up but still had a few takeaways.

Syracuse senior defender Jessica Vigna said being senior day, this game was an emotional game, but the team had to stick to the game plan.

“In the first half we came out kind of flat,” Vigna said. “I think we show that especially in the second half, that we can create chances.”

Starting off the game, Vigna said they lacked communication because there were a few tactical changes that had an impact on the game.

Syracuse head coach Phil Wheddon’s changes impacted the momentum. Wheddon had senior forward Alex Lamontagne playing in the back and sophomore defender Taylor Bennett up front as a striker.

This is a change Wheddon had first implemented against Virginia on Thursday and he said it was only meant for that game. However, Wheddon said the changes on Sunday were a result of watching how Duke was playing and seeing what he could do to get the most out of his players.

“It was just moving pieces of the puzzle to try to get more out of every individual player,” Wheddon said.

He said as a coach he is there to challenge his players to play their best and that resulted in some great performances against Duke.

Syracuse defense was being pressured by Duke’s front line who kept pushing forward. The Blue Devils were playing strong in and outside of the box, trying to get another ball in the back of the net.

With Duke’s offense playing down the line, the Orange left the middle wide open which allowed the Blue Devils another chance.

In the 29th minute, Duke’s McCoy was given the ball once more and wasted no time driving into the box. With a cross pass into the box by Duke’s senior forward Imani Dorsey, McCoy took a shot and the ball was in the bottom left corner of the net, putting the Blue Devils up 2-0.

With Duke up 2-0, Syracuse needed to get back into the game Duke played the ball tight, keeping a one and two touch rhythm, which resulted in great control of the ball. Duke played into the box two more times before the first half ended, but got no result.

Coming out of the half, Duke still was pushing numbers forward, but Syracuse senior goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan had a few good saves to keep them out.

Brosnan, playing an emotional last game at home, said the changes made in formation were no problem for her, she was doing what she had to do, make saves the team needed in order to stay in the game.

“Obviously you’re going to let in goals sometimes, and you just have to forget about it and move on to the next play,” Brosnan said. “Keep your head in the game and just do what you can in that moment to keep us moving forward.”

In the second half, Syracuse played a much more organized game. The Orange was able to communicate more and piece things together.

Syracuse played a heavy offensive game trying to get opportunities in the box to hopefully get on the board.

“Everyone played their part in the second half and everyone did a good job of staying compact and organized,” Wheddon said.

Syracuse's coach added that he challenged his team to put together a performance that they would be proud of.

Moving forward, the Orange’s offense had a few shots on goal in the second half but it wasn’t enough to get the win. With the tactical changes that were made, Wheddon was still proud of the women’s performance.

"I think our players know they can play with anyone. It’s just a case of what’s going to happen when the whistle blows,” Wheddon said. “They’ve got to be mentally & physically switched on and ready to play. We can play with anyone in the country.”

Syracuse will take on Virginia Tech on Oct. 26 at 7 p.m.


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