SU women's postseason chances end with loss to Maryland

The women's soccer team could not stop Maryland, eventually losing 3-1 in the final home game of the year.

With its season on the line, the Syracuse Orange took to the field at the SU Soccer Stadium for the last time in 2013 on a cold and rainy Thursday night.  Syracuse (7-9-1) took on a strong ACC opponent in Maryland (8-8-0), with both teams looking to make a push for the ACC tournament.  In the first ever meeting between the two, Maryland managed to pull off a 3-1 win, effectively ending SU’s chances of making the ACC tournament.

“I think we surprised a few people in the ACC,” Head Coach Phil Wheddon said. “I think we’ve been competitive in every game.” This year had its fair share of challenging moments for the Orange and this game was no different. 

“We had great opportunities to score and we didn’t,” Wheddon said. “I don’t think that they dominated us at all.  The score isn’t reflective of the way we played.  I’m very happy with the way this group has fought in every game.”

Despite a good deal of SU possession in the first half, Maryland got on the board first in the 35th minute when a UMD cross into the Orange box bounced off an SU defender to the foot of Aubrey Baker, who crushed the ball into the back of the net from outside the box.  UMD had several dangerous chances in the first half tallying up six shots to SU’s two.

Syracuse had many scoring opportunities, coming out very strong and aggressive, at the start of the second half.  During an SU attack, they were able to draw a penalty inside the box.  This led to their only score of the night, on a penalty kick, by Jackie Firenze in the 49th minute, tying the game at one apiece. 

“When we had the play [on offense] we rushed it too much and we just needed to calm it down and play the simple balls,” senior defender Kayla Afonso said. “And, we needed to mark our man in the box.”

Maryland answered with two more goals of its own in the 57th and 69th minutes.  UMD’s Hayley Brock scored on a breakaway, chipping the ball over SU goalkeeper Brittany Anghel as she came out to defend the shot.  Then, Kristen Schmidbauer scored on a header off of a corner kick, which was played back to Shannon Collins and sent into the box for the assist.

“I think if we had put the goals away early that we should have then it doesn’t come down to the defense, but because we were scrambling to get goals at the end we had to push everybody forward and then that left us exposed,” Anghel said.

For the SU seniors, this was the final game they would play on their home turf, and although it may have ended in disappointment they have many games at the SU Soccer Stadium this year to look back on.

“It’s always fun to play at Syracuse, the crowds always into it, and I’m gonna miss it,” Anghel said. The senior captain broke the records for most shutouts (22) and most wins (28) all-time at SU as a goalkeeper this season.   She will play in her final game in an SU uniform along with fellow seniors, Afonso, Cecilia Borgstrom, Rachel Blum and Jackie Moriarty next Thursday in Chestnut Hill against Boston College.

With regard to the future of Syracuse in the ACC, Wheddon had this to say: “We have great players coming in, but we know that we need game changing players, and they’re very difficult to come by because we’re in competition with everyone else to get them.  So, moving forward, we will be looking at bigger, faster, stronger players.”

The Orange returns 16 players, eight of who are potential starters.  After a year of ups and downs, adjusting to a new, more challenging conference, SU will have a much better idea of what to expect next year. 

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