Syracuse blanks Cornell, 3-0, for third victory of the season
Paul Schlesinger | Asst. Photo Editor
When Phil Wheddon sat by the Syracuse bench, notebook in hand, it didn’t take long for him to see shades of the win over Army and the loss to No. 7 Florida from last week. He jumped up from his seat, paced toward the sideline and stressed, “Move it quicker,” as his defenders spent the early minutes booting balls back and forth in their own zone.
Five minutes into the game, the offense opened up. Georgia Allen slipped the ball to Eva Gordon, who was ahead of two defenders but lost control. Syracuse didn’t convert, but SU (3-1-1) topped Cornell (0-1-0), 3-0, Thursday night at SU Soccer Stadium. Spreading out two wing backs on the far side of the field and moving up players appositionally keyed the three goals, two of which were scored by freshman Kate Donovan. Defender Taylor Bennett netted a penalty kick as well.
“We played Army this past week and we were dominating Army for the early portion of the game,” Wheddon said. “We scored an early goal and we sort of sat back and allowed them to get back into the game. I didn’t want the same thing to happen tonight.”
Within the first 10 minutes, Syracuse implemented Wheddon’s plan. Gordon and Sydney Brackett spread to the far corners and set up diagonal, floating shots from midfield feeds. They fumbled balls at first, then gained poise in the Big Red zone and 22 minutes in were on the board.
Bennett continued to deploy Wheddon’s strategy of speeding up the game and playing the long ball to the opposite side of the field. With just over two minutes left in the half, she stole the ball from Cornell’s Naomi Jaffe. She dumped it to Shannon Aviza, who quickly followed to Alex Lamontagne, then sophomore Opal Curless dribbled toward the box and spotted Donovan squeezing ahead of two defenders.
“I was trying to make runs through their defenders,” Donovan said. “Opal ended up seeing me right in one of the slots, so it worked out nicely that I was there at the right time.”
Donovan was in the clear on the receiving end of the pass. She blew the ball by Cornell keeper Meghan Kennedy. Two minutes later, up 2-0 at the half, she was swarmed by Gordon, then a barrage of three other teammates in celebration. Assistant coach Kelly Lawrence followed, giving her additional hand-gestures of advice and a fist bump, as Donovan says she has all year.
Eight into the second half, Donovan was on the board again. In the 54th minute, a Syracuse corner blasted into the box, Carolin Bader bumped it upward with her body and Donovan slammed it by Kennedy with her head.
The 3-0 lead in the second half gave Wheddon the chance to get the entire team in the game, including freshman goalkeeper Lysianne Proulx, who relieved Courtney Brosnan with 27 minutes left. The Orange required zero saves from her and only one from Brosnan.
“It’s important to get her time as well,” Wheddon said. “It’s no disrespect to Courtney, obviously Courtney is one of the best goalkeepers in the country … it’s important that we get (Lysianne) time as well because at the end of Courtney’s time, it’s going to be Lysianne’s time.”
Wheddon said looking for the weak side defense on long balls won’t always work, but it was an effective approach Thursday in SU’s convincing win.
“We have to keep connecting passes and keep playing quick one-two passes and keeping the ball,” Bennett said.
Published on August 31, 2017 at 11:52 pm
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