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Halfway through the third quarter, Syracuse and Kent State stood huddled on the sidelines for several minutes, waiting for the call on the review for what would become Kent State’s game-tying goal to level the scoring at one goal each. From then on, the Golden Flashes grew more into the game as the momentum gradually shifted in their favor.
Syracuse watched as Jenna McCrudden’s shot hit the back of the goal before the rest of the Golden Flashes’ roster flooded the field in celebration, securing Kent State’s victory in overtime. Despite only registering five shots — two of which came after the end of regulation — and two corners throughout the game, Kent State walked away with the win.
Unlike in Syracuse’s (2-1) first two matchups of the season, the Orange struggled to break down Kent State’s (3-1) defensive unit. SU heavily controlled possession across all four quarters, but only managed to convert one of 16 shots into a goal. Mistakes on penalty corner play and misplaced passes limited Syracuse offensively and prevented the Orange from claiming a third-straight victory to start their 2021 season.
The Orange earned seven corners throughout the game, but they saw three of these opportunities collapse after making errors before the team could get a shot off.
“The corner is an insert, stop, roll, strike,” head coach Ange Bradley said. “Somewhere along those four pieces there was somebody that didn’t execute their job and somebody wasn’t able to pick up for the job that wasn’t done.”
The Orange’s first two corner mistakes occurred in the first and second quarter between the stop and roll stages. These errors resulted in Eefke van den Nieuwenhof and Carolin Hoffmann not being able to get proper shots on goal. Unable to take advantage of these opportunities and extend their lead over Kent State, Syracuse kept the Golden Flashes in contention and eventually surrendered goal-scoring opportunities.
When SU had a corner opportunity to retake the lead within the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, S.J. Quigley scuffed her insert pass and the ball didn’t have enough power behind it for a shot to be set up for van den Nieuwenhof. SU’s solo goalscorer Pleun Lammers collected the ball and shot to earn Syracuse another corner, only to see a shot from van den Nieuwenhof blocked on the following play.
Syracuse had two additional clear-cut chances to tack on goals in the third quarter, but it still couldn’t capitalize. Before Kent State scored its first goal of the game, Lammers had Clara Morrison open in front of goal but she placed a pass just out of Morrison’s reach. Minutes after the Golden Flashes tied the game, Morrison — free on the left side of the shooting circle — missed a cross that was intended for Charlotte de Vries, who only had one defender to beat.
When Syracuse did get shots on goal, Kent State starting goalkeeper Azure Fernsler stopped them, recording a total of seven saves.
The bulk of SU’s offensive creation came through Hoffmann and de Vries. The two led the team in shots, each producing five with two on goal. De Vries, who returned for Saturday’s game against Kent State after playing with the U.S. national team at the 2021 Junior Pan American Championship tournament, facilitated several of Syracuse’s opportunities.
Although de Vries missed the Orange’s opening games against Sacred Heart and Vermont, Hoffmann didn’t have any trouble adjusting to de Vries being back in the lineup.
“Char and I have played together for a while now and we know how to work around each other and with each other,” Hoffmann said about de Vries.
De Vries spent the game shifting around in different roles, split between the offense and the midfield. The two-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team member played much of the first half on the right side of the midfield. Accordingly, the Orange found their way up the field predominantly on the right flank during the first two quarters.
This trend continued as the game progressed, with de Vries spending long periods on the left side of the offense — connecting with midfielders Morrison and Laura Graziosi — as well as in the center of the attack serving as the main target for incoming crosses.
Although de Vries provided occasional sparks for SU after Lammers’ goal, the Orange weren’t able to break through Kent State.
“Our angles of pursuit weren’t as sharp as they could have been,” Bradley said. “We were a step behind.”
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