Year in review: Women's soccer sputters to lowest win total since 2009

A struggling offense and off-the-field distractions derailed a promising start to the 2014 season.

Syracuse head coach Phil Wheddon had one word to sum up the 2014 season.


Although the Orange strung together a decent start, it began to hit a lull during the middle of the campaign and struggled to capitalize on scoring chances, an issue that became even more prevalent against four ranked opponents at the end of the season. SU finished with an overall record of 5-10-4 and failed to qualify for the Atlantic Coast Conference and NCAA tournaments.  

Start of the Season 

Syracuse started the season with a 3-1-2 record and won back-to-back games at the Colgate Nike Classic, but it would be the only time the team won consecutive games all year. 

The Orange defeated UMass-Lowell and then went on to beat the University of Vermont in double overtime, with freshman Alex Lamontagne scoring the game-winning goal in the 102nd minute of play.  

However, controversy overshadowed the hard-fought victory.  

Senior midfielder Hanna Strong was caught on tape using racial and homophobic slurs before the Vermont game. After the video went viral, Strong was suspended indefinitely from the team. She never returned and was removed from the roster in late October.

Struggles Begin

The team struggled midway through the season, going 1-4-1 after the victory over Vermont.  Syracuse lost road games at Colgate, Louisville and Cincinnati during that stretch, with its lone victory coming at Miami. Sophomore Stephanie Skilton, who was the key offensive contributor for the Orange all season, scored the match’s only goal.

Memorable Moment 

The Orange won only one game at home all season, but it was against a tough opponent.  Syracuse defeated No. 26 Boston College by a score of 3-0. Skilton once again led the way for the Orange, scoring her eighth goal of the season and the 17th of her career, moving her into a tie for fifth on the Orange’s all-time scoring list.

Freshman Alana O’Neill came off the bench to score the first two goals of her career.

Syracuse goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan also played well in the shutout victory against the Eagles, making six saves in her fifth start after returning from a right knee injury. 

Season-ending Slide 

After the BC victory, the Orange did not win a game for the rest of the season, losing five games and tying one.  The Orange struggled to find a consistent offensive rhythm all year, an issue that became particularly noticeable as the team faced tougher opponents in its final stretch of the season. 

Syracuse was shutout in its next five games after the win against the Eagles. The Orange did score a goal in its final game of the year against the University of North Carolina, but it wasn’t enough as the team eventually fell to the Tar Heels in overtime.

Looking Ahead 

The good news is the majority of the SU roster will remain intact, including top scoring weapon Skilton and Brosnan.

Despite the Orange’s season-ending loss to UNC, Wheddon was impressed with the work ethic his team showed in its final match of the year and hopeful that next year will be better.

“We look back at it and say if we fought like that every game and had that intensity every game it probably would be a different story,” Wheddon said. “To take North Carolina to overtime is a moral victory in itself. It’s a good platform for us to move forward.”

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