Time runs out in penultimate home women's soccer game

Two late goals in the second half saw the Cavaliers surge past the Orange.

Syracuse women’s soccer was defeated 3-1 by No. 12 Virginia Cavaliers at SU Soccer Stadium Thursday night.

The Cavaliers took control of the field immediately driving into the box. Two minutes into the game Virginia defender Courtney Petersen rounded the ball out to the left around Syracuse senior Alex Lamontagne and took a shot at the net, which rolled right into Syracuse goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan’s hands.

Virginia played well, pushing forward and working to keep the ball on the ground switching the ball from left to right Syracuse was forced to chase the ball as a result.

Syracuse head coach Phil Wheddon made a tactical change and moved sophomore Taylor Bennett from playing in the back to playing up top as a striker. Usually playing forward, Lamontagne played at the back.

“I think we knew we were going to have to play slightly differently and I asked the team to play a different formation and I thought they did a heck of a job for most of the game,” Wheddon said.

Wheddon said this tactical change was an adjustment he made just for this game, and Bennett was happy with the results.

“Moving people around, I think we actually excelled past what we have been playing in other games,” Bennett said. “It was really good to see that we don’t just have four people that can play back there.”

Bennett said the change was no problem for her and that she loves being on the field.

“If they’re going to tell me that I need to play up top for this game then I’m going to full on accept it and play my heart out,” Bennett said.

The tactical change didn’t help immediately. 14 minutes into the game Virginia’s Hana Kerner crossed the ball to the left, but Lamontagne was there to head it out. Unfortunately, the ball fell right at junior Betsy Brandon’s feet, where she slotted her first goal of the season into the bottom corner.

The Orange tried to counter attack and started to play a few balls further down the field.

After a takeaway by Bennett, she looked up from midfield and saw Sydney Brackett in sight running down the field. Bennett sent the ball down the field to Brackett who then crossed it out to Georgia Allen. In the 27th minute, Allen went head first towards the ball and headed it into the bottom right of the goal, leveling the score 1-1.

“I saw that Sydney was making a heck of a run,” Bennett said. “So I rewarded the run and it ended up working out for the best, that’s all I could ask for”

The Orange was back in the game. Syracuse midfielder Georgia Allen was buoyed by the equalizer.

“It didn’t matter who scored it, how it came about it doesn’t matter. We're one team,” Allen said. “You always have to believe you have a chance, no matter who you’re playing against.”

Coming out of the half tied 1-1, the momentum had changed. Virginia put a lot pressure on Syracuse pushing numbers forward and driving down the field. Keeping good control of the ball, Virginia’s Taryn Torres crossed the ball to Veronica Latsko. Latsko headed the ball into the far-right corner putting the Cavaliers up 2-1 in the 59th minute.

At that point, time was running out.

“You are competing against the clock, its well on you,” Wheddon said. “But anytime you’re chasing the game against a team like Virginia, it’s very, very difficult.”

In the 77th minute, Brackett fouled in the box and drew a yellow card and a penalty. Virginia defender Brianna Westrup stepped up to take the kick and shot it right over Brosnan’s head.

From then on, Virginia kept hold of the ball trying to slow the game down and run out the clock.

“They started wasting time as you saw, take seconds off the clock,” Wheddon said. “Valuable seconds we wanted to be in play.”

Virginia were able to comfortably see the game out. Wheddon was proud of the way his team played.

“This team has been resilient defensively. The shots that we’ve given up are mostly from distance,” Wheddon said. “Moving forward, we just have to take more shots and we have to be able to put that ball in the back of the net.”

“It’s always disappointing when you don’t get the result that you deserve,” Bennett continued. “I think that we can keep improving from here and we can definitely work to get these next two results.”

Syracuse hosts No. 4 Duke Sunday afternoon at SU Soccer Stadium for their final home game of the season.

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