SU rallies to tie Duke

The Orange used two second-half goals to tie and snap a four-game losing streak.

On a cool, windy afternoon at SU Soccer Stadium, the Syracuse Orange (4-5) took on the No. 18 Duke Blue Devils (4-4-1) for the first time in franchise history.  The Orange looked to snap a four game losing streak while the Blue Devils just came off a loss against No. 3 Wake Forest.  Both teams were looking to rebound in what was also the first ACC home game for SU, but only came out with a 2-2 draw.

“It was a tale of two halves,” said head coach Phil Wheddon.  “The first half we sat back a little too deep at times, we had two lapses in concentration, and the energy was not quite as high as it could be.”

Those “lapses in concentration” came in the form of two scrappy first half goals by Duke.  The first came at the 2:29 mark when a shot rebounded off of SU keeper Brittany Anghel and was put in the back of the net by Duke’s Laura Weinberg.  The second came in the 39th minute when Kim DiCesare chipped a shot over Anghel to give the Blue Devils a commanding 2-0 lead going into halftime. 

For the most part the possession was fairly even, although the SU offense had some trouble maintaining control on Duke’s side of the field, going against a well disciplined defensive back four.  Duke only led in shots by 7-5 and aside from two breakdowns the SU defense played very strongly.

“We just couldn’t put it away in the first half,” SU defender Maddie Iozzi said. “We played really low pressure in the first half, we let them play, and they got away with two goals. So we fixed our formation at halftime and then got two goals.”

But the second half brought forth a much more physical and energetic SU Orange team.  “In the second half, I’m so proud of this group, they did so well in the second half,” Wheddon said. 

Syracuse came out on a mission, dominating possession and fighting hard for every ball. The Orange scored for the first time in four games when, in the 53rd minute, Iozzi put a corner kick into the box which found the foot of freshman forward Stephanie Skilton who was there to put it away.  

“We had a good halftime speech and we all got together and really worked for it,” midfielder Jackie Firenze said.

After cutting the lead in half the Orange continued to keep up the pressure.  In the 64th minute Erin Simon played a ball up to Firenze, who managed to get the ball past the Duke defense.  She ripped a shot, which rebounded right back to her, and as she fell to the ground she put the ball in the net knotting the game at two apiece.  Firenze described it herself as just a “really scrappy goal.”

“I knew that we could come back, we always have this belief in each other and we weren’t really phased that we were down two-nil,” Anghel said.  “We were in this game and we really stepped it up in the second half, we challenged them and matched their physicality.”

The score at the end of regulation was tied 2-2 and after a scoreless overtime period the match resulted in a draw. Syracuse remains unbeaten at home and will now take on a tough Clemson team this upcoming Thursday night at the SU Soccer Stadium. 

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