mvolain's Blog

Field hockey moves onto the Final Four

Jordan Page propels the Orange to their second straight Final Four appearance with two goals against Penn State.

The No. 5 Syracuse Orange is headed to the Final Four after defeating the No. 4 Penn State Nittany Lions 5-2 Sunday afternoon.

Sophomore Jordan Page scored twice to lead the Orange in the NCAA quarterfinals. The Orange did not trail for any minute of the match against Penn State.

Freshman Gillian Pinder, graduate student Liz McInerney and senior Iona Holloway added the other three Orange goals.

Leann Stiver was forced to make a season-high 13 saves in the game that also featured 15 Nittany Lion penalty corners, making for the toughest defensive fights the Orange have had all year.

The Nittany Lions came within one when Whitney Reddig scored the first PSU goal, making it 2-1 Orange with just under 19 minutes left. The Orange roared back, going up 5-1 at one point.

“I'm just so proud for this team collectively and these seniors,” head coach Ange Bradley said. “This is their moment. They listened to a game plan, they executed, and they wanted something. They played so inspired today.”

Just after 4 p.m. it became clear that the Orange were headed for their second ever trip to the Final Four, where they will face No. 1 North Carolina (22-1) November 16. UNC's lone loss of the season came against the Orange on September 1, where the Orange won 1-0 in overtime.


SU aims for NCAA Championship

After a loss to UConn, the Orange field hockey team looks to exact revenge against UMass in the first round of the NCAA Tournament

The Syracuse Orange field hockey team did not receive a top four seed in the NCAA tournament, and therefore will not play host to any games in the tournament.

After ousting Providence College 3-1, in the Big East semifinals, the Orange fell to the UConn Huskies, the team they had beaten 3-2 the weekend before for the regular season Big East championship, in the Big East Championship 4-3.

The Orange's record fell to 17-2, a half game worse than the Huskies' record of 18-2, which earned them the No. 3 seed, and home field advantage for the first two rounds of the tournament.

In the Big East Championship, the Orange were led by junior Laura Hahnefeldt's two first half goals, both of which were assisted by sophomore Jordan Page. The Orange led 2-1 at halftime and 3-1 after an unassisted goal off a penalty corner just under three minutes into the second half by graduate student Liz McInerney.

Ten minutes later, the Huskies' Marie Elena Bolles set up leading scorer Chloe Hunnable to pull UConn back within one. Katherine Baker tied the score up with twenty minutes left in the game.

Bolles connected with Hunnable again with just six minutes left. The three unanswered goals spelled the end of the Orange's four year run of Big East titles.

This is the fifth straight NCAA appearance for the Orange, and eighth overall.

The Orange will head to University Park, Penn. this weekend for what they hope will be two games. The Orange are set to tangle with the UMass Minutewomen, the very team that snapped their undefeated streak four weeks ago.

Should they win, the Orange will take on the winner of the No. 4 Penn State vs. Albany, who they defeated 7-3 in their first exhibition game.

Other Notes

  • Senior Iona Holloway was named Big East Defensive Player of the Year.
  • Kelsey Millman and Leann Stiver were selected for the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division I Senior Game.
  • Laura Hahnefeldt, Kelsey Millman, Jordan Page and Gillian Pinder were named to the Big East All-Tournament Team.
  • Coach Ange Bradley won Big East Coach of the Year for the fourth time in six seasons with the Orange.

Orange win Big East title

On senior day, Orange field hockey kept their home winning streak alive with strong performances by their seniors.

In their biggest game of the year, the No. 3 Syracuse Orange field hockey team came out swinging.

On senior day, the last game of the regular season, the Orange defeated rival No. 4 Uconn 3-2 in a battle for the regular season Big East crown.

Honorees Liz McInerney and Kelsey Millman each scored as the Orange toughed out another tight match with the Huskies, who have proven to be their toughest Big East opponent over the last four years.

“Every time we play this team it's a battle,” senior goalkeeper Leann Stiver said. “The fact that we're still undefeated at Coyne is amazing.”

The 36-game home winning streak is something the Orange hope to continue, should the NCAA give them a chance to play at home in the tournament.

“This is kind of why I play hockey,” McInerney said of the match up with UConn for the Big East title. “And I'm not going to lie, that goal felt great.”

McInerney scored the first goal of the game off a rebound shot from senior Iona Holloway that bounced off the post. The Huskies tied up the game just four minutes into the second half.

The next goal was a beautiful pass from freshman Gillian Pinder to senior captain Kelsey Millman, who dove to make the shot.

“Gill had been breaking out of the midfield with great speed all game,” Millman said. “When she broke her defender I knew she was going right to goal, so I just laid out and hit it into the goal.”

With eight minutes left in the game, it seemed the Orange had put the Huskies away for good with a goal off a penalty corner scored by Jordan Page, but the Huskies scored with less than five minutes left on a penalty corner of their own, bringing the score back to within one.

Great defensive work from Iona Holloway, juniors Laura Hahnefeldt and Anna Crumb made the game tough for the Huskies, and they did not allow the Huskies to even up the score in the waning moments of the game.

The story of the game was the emotion behind the team as they finished their regular season, and a hearty turn out in the stands made the win all the sweeter for the Orange as they head into the Big East tournament next week.

“You work hard, and you get rewarded with something like this, it's kind of the American Dream,” Coach Ange Bradley said. “I'm so proud of these girls. I'm glad we could send these seniors out with a win.”

The Orange clip the Eagles

SU's freshmen lead the way as the women's field hockey team doubles up Boston College, improving their record to 15-1

The No. 3 Syracuse Orange field hockey team is now the proud owner of a three-game win streak after Sunday's victory over No. 16 Boston College.

Freshman Gillian Pinder had two goals and two assists and freshman Emma Russell added two goals of her own en route to a 4-2 Orange (15-1) victory over visiting Boston College (9-8).

Pinder, starting in place of the ill Leonie Geyer at midfield, took full advantage of her starting opportunity, increasing her season totals to seven goals and six assists.

Russell and Pinder are both natives of Ireland, and found themselves working well with their fellow countrywomen.

“We connected really well,” Russell said. “We were working well off the sidelines and just talked well, communicated well.”

The Orange were up 2-0 with Russell and Pinder's first goals, and increased their lead to 3-0 after Pinder set up Russell for a shot from the left side just a minute and half into the second half.

But, three minutes later the Eagles rally began, as their strangle-hold on time of possession finally turned into production, as Boston College scored two unanswered goals in six minute, leaving the Orange's lead just 3-2.

Pinder, who scored the first goal of the game, capitalized on a penalty corner with 18 minutes left in the game, scoring on a tip-in knocked her way by freshman Alyssa Manley.

“It's always a tight game when you're only leading by one goal,” Pinder said. “A slip-up puts you right back on even field, so it's important to get that two goal cushion.” 

The Orange (5-0 Big East) play their final game of the regular season against rival No. 4 Connecticut (16-1) (4-0 Big East) for the regular season Big East crown at home on Saturday at 1 p.m. before the Big East tournament begins next week. 

SU expects to contend once again this year

Despite the loss of four key players, Orange men's basketball look to be a more complete team with a stingy defense and an explosive offense.

Although the SU men's basketball team has a vastly different look than last year, the team appears ready to perform at a high level for their last year in the Big East conference.

Head coach Jim Boeheim called the group “the most advanced group we've ever had at this stage [in the preseason],” and the Orange themselves could not talk enough about how the strong the team is, in lieu of their off-season losses in personnel. 

The core group of returners—seniors Brandon Triche and James Southerland, juniors Baye Keita and C.J. Fair, and sophomore Rakeem Christmas—lead the charge with an infusion of young talent from sophomore guards Michael Carter-Williams and Trevor Cooney, along with freshman DaJuan Coleman and Jerami Grant, all of whom will have enlarged roles with the departures of Fab Melo, Kris Joseph, Scoop Jardine and Dion Waiters.

Coach Boeheim said he has “no way of knowing what type of team this will be at this point in the year,” but noted that he's “never lose this many important players and remain ranked in the top 20.”

“It's a credit to the returners,” Boeheim said.

The Guards

Sophomore guards Carter-Williams and  Cooney, who saw only limited playing (Cooney was a red shirt), figure to have large roles in the offensive and defensive game this year.

“Trevor Cooney benefited [from being a red shirt] more than we could have expected,” Boeheim said. “Any normal year he would have played.”

Cooney, who has been compared to assistant coach and former Orange star Gerry McNamara because of his shooting ability, figures to play major minutes this year.

“He's earned it. He's put in the work.” McNamara said of Cooney, who played the most practice minutes of any player last year. “He's going to be a stud.”

McNamara also noted that although he does see himself in Cooney: “Cooney dunks better than me.”

Carter-Williams has been pointed out as a go-to scorer and an energy guy on the court. Carter-Williams saw sparse playing time with the depth above him last year, but figures to be a starter this year.

Boeheim noted that his lack of playing time did not hinder his development in the least.

“Playing against really good players in practice [like he did] is much more valuable than playing in games against bad players,” Boeheim said. “He's definitely ready to contribute.”

Although known primarily as an offensive player, Carter-Williams has improved on defense as well.

“My whole life I have been an offensive player,” Carter-Williams said. “But I take pride in my defense; it's part of my game.”

Carter-Williams added that he “can't wait to be that spark.”

Senior guard Triche stands out as the leader of the team. Although he is not known for his vocal leadership, his teammates attest to his leadership capabilities.    

“He's not a big yeller,” Carter-Williams said. “But he has taken me aside time and time again, when no one is there [practice] and helps point out things I was doing wrong or needed to work on.”

“This year he'll need to be more vocal, but he will be ready,” Carter-Williams added.

“Brandon has been a good player for three years,” Boeheim said. “This year he will be a great player.”

“In the past he deferred to the other guards, but he is going to step forward this year,” Boeheim added.

McNamara called Triche's pull-up jump shot “One of the best I've ever seen.”

“If he's more aggressive offensively early on – which he will be this year – he will set the tone for the entire game,” McNamara added. “You'll see a different Brandon Triche than you've seen. He thinks he's paid his dues.”

The Big Men

Although the departure of Fab Melo was expected, his loss is expected to be felt. Melo sent ripples through the organization with his questionable actions that led to his missing three games during the season and the entirety of the NCAA tournament. He was replaced by Christmas, who is prepared to take on Melo's role this year, with the help of fellow big men Baye Keita and freshman Coleman.

“Rakeem has put on about 20 pounds and bulked up this summer,” Boeheim said. “He's much better prepared for the rigors of a full time Big East schedule.”

Junior Baye Keita will continue to assist in either the 4 or 5 spot, as he did last year off the bench.

When asked what his role would be Baye Keita deferred responsibility to the coach.

“I need to play whatever role coach says,” he said. “Just me and Rak' can get it done.”

The defense overall should prove to be, yet again, one the Orange's strongest assets. Freshman forward Grant was called a “prototype of what we do here” by McNamara and the young faces on the team will play a significant role in the expansion of this new generation of Orange zone defense.

It is still too early to really say, but the Orange appear to be prepared to prove that they are just as good as last year, and to blow expectations off, and be better than a No. 15 rank.

“We lost some big personalities, but we're in good shape,” McNamara said. “We're really optimistic.” 

SU field hockey drops its first game of the season

After a 12-game win streak to start the season, the Orange watched their dreams of an undefeated fall by the wayside with a 2-1 loss to UMass.

The nation's No. 1-ranked Syracuse Orange field hockey team's undefeated streak has come an end.

In Thursday afternoon's match-up at UMass Amherst, the Orange (12-1) found the short end of the stick for the first time since last fall. Their 2-1 loss to the Minutewomen was only the second time the Orange scored less than two goals, the first being against the No. 2 North Carolina Tar Heels in the third game of the season.

The Orange knew they had a tough week, with their two games occurring during the week, as opposed to the usual weekend games. The match-up against No. 13 Stanford was expected to be a challenge, and the Minutewomen began the year as a ranked team, proving their skill was nothing to be taken lightly. 

SU field hockey continue stellar play

The Orange extended their home win streak to 34 with their seventh shutout of the season.

At a rain-drenched J.S. Coyne Stadium, the top-ranked Syracuse field hockey team improved their record to 11-0 with yet another shut out on Sunday.

Gillian Pinder and Liz McInerney led the Orange over Yale University (3-6) 5-0.

Pinder tallied two goals and an assist, and McInerney added a goal and two assists in the five-goal rout of the Bulldogs.

The inclement weather was not much of a factor for the high-powered Orange offense in the first half, where they scored all five of their goals—including three in four minutes—but the downpour in the second half, which created puddles and severely slowed down the ball, did hamper the desire for more goals.

“The ball doesn't travel too well in lakes,” Iona Holloway joked.

After two dangerous collisions toward the end of the second half, Coach Ange Bradley called time out and told her team to not worry about scoring.

“By the end of the half we were just trying to get out of there safely,” Holloway said.

The Bulldogs changed goalies at the half, and the combination of the new keeper and the intensified rain kept the Orange from adding to their lead.

“It definitely slowed the ball down,” Bradley said of the weather. “Unfortunately for us, that is an advantage to our opponents.”

However, the stellar play of the backs and senior goal keeper Leann Stiver kept the Bulldogs off the board to hand the Orange their fourth straight shutout and 34th straight win at home. The Orange now have seven shutouts in their 11 victories.

“It's another shut out, so you can't complain,” McInerney said.

The Orange will be on the road for the next three weekends, starting with a trip to Big East foe Providence on Oct. 6.

The Orange return to Coyne Stadium on Oct. 21 where they will meet Boston College.

The Orange blank the Cardinals

Despite an underwhelming performance by the Orange, they found a way to extend their home winning streak to 33 games.

Saturday afternoon the top-ranked Syracuse field hockey team extended their home winning streak to 33 games as they shutout Louisville 3-0.

Leonie Geyer had a goal and an assist to lead the Orange (10-0) (3-0 Big East) over the Louisville Cardinals (7-4) (1-1 Big East). Lauren Brooks scored her team-leading eigth goal, and Stephanie Hussey added another for the Orange.

The current core of seniors also saw the 100th goal scored against Big East foes. Since the 2008 season began, the Orange have outscored Big East teams 100-23, playing to a 19-1 record. They have been Big East Champions each of the last three years.

“It's a mental focus we have,” goalkeeper Leann Stiver said. “We have the expectations that we want the shut outs for this year; we want to break records.”

Although the scoreboard did not show it, the game was not played as well as the players and coaches would have liked. Much of that can be attributed to the Cardinals' defensive game plan that frustrated the Orange offense at times.

“It wasn't our best game, so we definitely have to improve,” Geyer said of the struggles the team faced. “But it's another win in the Big East and it's another shut out.”

Coach Ange Bradley acknowledged that this was a style many teams will be likely to use against the Orange in the future.

“There's definitely a different way that you have to play,” Bradley said. “You have to be more patient in your attack, more careful with your passes in traffic.”

Bradley also noted that Yale will probably employ the same tactic on Sunday, and she expects the team to be more prepared to deal with it.

The Orange take on the Bulldogs at J.S. Coyne Stadium Sunday at 2 pm. 

The Orange voted top team in the country

After a weekend during which the field hockey team defeated Rutgers and Princeton, the undefeated Orange are now the team to beat.

After convincing shutout wins against Rutgers and No. 3-ranked Princeton last weekend, the Orange field hockey team has been voted as the No. 1 team in the nation.

When Tuesday's poll came out, the Orange (9-0) had secured 25 first place votes, supplanting the University of North Carolina (22 first place votes) as the top team in the nation. The Tar Heels had held the top spot for the majority of the season.

Friday, the Orange downed Rutgers (4-5) 6-0 behind two goals from All-American Kelsey Millman and two assists by sophomore Stephanie Hussey.

In Sunday's keynote match, the No. 2-ranked Orange squared off against the Princeton Tigers (7-1), and came out victorious following second half goals from Leonie Geyer and Emma Russell.

“Playing against them was like playing a mirror of ourselves, because the way they play is so similar to us,” said Liz McInerney, who was named the Big East Player of the Week. “It was very intense; everybody was exhausted by the end of it.”

The win over the Tigers was the Orange's second victory of the season over a top three team, as they beat North Carolina 1-0 in overtime earlier this season. The shutout over Princeton gave coaches across the country reason enough to give the Orange the top spot for the first time since 2008.

In 2008, the Orange made it to the semifinals in the national championship, the furthest the program has ever made it.

The Orange's offense-happy season has been complimented by stellar goaltending by starter Leann Stiver and backup Jess Jecko, who have allowed just six goals all season, and three in their last five games.

“They are the anchor, the backbone of the team,” Coach Ange Bradley said. “Leann Stiver has grown so much this year, especially in her voice and communication with the defense. It's been outstanding.”

A No. 1 rank does put pressure on the Orange, but they are not concerned.

“Being No. 1 is sometimes seen as a target on your back, but we don't see it that way,” Bradley added. “We see it as a badge on our chest, and we are extremely proud of it.”

The undefeated Orange face Louisville on Saturday at 12 pm and Yale on Sunday at 2 pm. Both games are at home at J.S. Coyne Stadium.

The Orange roll over Kent State

The SU field hockey team finish the weekend 2-0, pushing its win total to seven on the year.

All-American Liz McInerney had a career day, scoring once and adding three assists as No. 2 Syracuse dominated Kent State with a score of 7-1 on Sunday.

The Orange (7-0) held the Golden Flashes (4-5) in submission right from the beginning, maintaining ball possession for more than 60 percent of the game.

McInerney credited her performance on the players she set up the goals for.

“It's pretty easy when the forwards are moving for you,” McInerney said. “They're always in the right place at the right time; we just worked well together today.”

The Golden Flashes were the second team of the weekend to fall victim to the Orange's stellar defense, which allowed just two shots on Sunday, and had only allowed six on Friday against Villanova.

Starting goalkeeper senior Leann Stiver (7-0) allowed Kent State's one goal. Freshman backup goalie Jess Jecko saw zero shots in her 28 minutes of play.

“We keep them sharp in practice,” said Bradley of her goalie duo.

Lauren Brooks continued her torrid pace of goal scoring, with her third of the weekend and sixth on the year. Brooks has far surpassed her goal total of four from her freshman campaign.

The 7-1 victory extended Syracuse's home winning streak to 32 games. They last lost at home in 2009, and have outscored opponents 140-25 since then.

This weekend the Orange travel to New Jersey for games against Rutgers and No. 2 Princeton – who Syracuse is tied with nationally (as of Sept. 11).

“It doesn't matter where we play,” Bradley said of playing on the road. “We just have to keep playing hockey.”