Women's soccer: Skilton leads Orange past UMass Lowell

Sophomore scores two goals, adds assist in dominant second half.

Temperatures on Colgate’s soccer field reached 100 degrees on Friday afternoon, but the scorching heat was not enough to slow down Syracuse forward Stephanie Skilton

Skilton stormed out of the half in the Orange’s game against the University of Massachusetts Lowell, scoring two quick goals and later adding an assist to lead the Orange to a 4-0 victory.  The game was the first matchup of the Colgate Nike Classic in Hamilton, N.Y.

“In the second half, we moved the ball quicker.” Skilton said. “We were more accurate and concise with our passing and we knew what we were going to do.”

Before Skilton’s efforts, the Orange struggled to finish on scoring opportunities in the first half.  Syracuse outshot the River Hawks 11-0 through the first 45 minutes, but couldn’t drive the ball into the net.

SU head coach Phil Wheddon said he was displeased with the team’s inability to convert chances into goals.

“We gave the ball away far too many times,” Wheddon said. “Our final pass was very poor…we had some great opportunities to score that we missed or the keeper made an easy save.”

The Orange finally capitalized on an opportunity with 17:16 left in the first half. Junior midfielder Jackie Firenze scorched the ball into the upper right-hand corner of the net from 30 yards out to score her first goal of the season and give Syracuse a 1-0 lead.

Firenze said she was happy to give her team a boost.

“It’s always great to score a goal, it’s good to put our team ahead. It kind of got us out of the little slump we had in the beginning of the game,” Firenze said.

Because of the extreme heat, both teams were given a water break right after the goal.  Many people in the stands were holding umbrellas to try and shield the bright sun. 

Even though conditions were strenuous, Firenze said they were not justification for the Orange’s slow start.

“Both teams have the heat so it can’t really be an excuse… we weren’t playing to our potential…so we came out in the second half and wanted to fix it,” Firenze said.

The Orange wasted no time getting started. Skilton scored her first goal in the 46th minute on a give-and-go-play with freshman Alex Lamontagne. Just over three minutes later, Skilton scored again after she juked her defender and tapped the ball into the lower left corner of the net.  The goal gave the Orange a 3-0 lead and moved Skilton into a tie for ninth place in program history for career goals scored (13).

Wheddon was much more impressed by SU’s second-half efforts.

“I thought in the first ten minutes of the second half that’s some of the best soccer that I’ve seen us play,” Wheddon said.  “The build up play for those goals was fantastic and very cool, calm finishes as well.”

The Orange added one more goal when Lamontagne scored with 24:39 left in the game. Skilton and junior forward Erin Simon assisted on the play.  The goal brought Lamontagne’s season point total to five. 

UMass did manage to get off four shots in the second half, but Syracuse’s sophomore goalkeeper MacKenzie Moranz did not allow any of those shots to reach the net. 

The Orange will hit the pitch again Sunday at 11 a.m. in Hamilton against Vermont.


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