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An hour before the game even started, around 20 Kent State fans were already on the right side of the bleachers of J.S. Coyne Stadium. By the time the game started, there were about 40. In SU’s last game against Vermont, there were only around 15 Catamounts supporters in the stands.
Despite the large crowd of visiting supporters, the right side of the bleachers — where fans of the opposing team sit during the game – was very quiet in the first half.
The Orange have not given opposing fans much to cheer about, as SU has dominated the competition so far. And in the first half against Kent State, it looked like the same was going to happen.
But in overtime, the atmosphere in the stadium was different. Syracuse fans, once excited and loud, were now quiet, and the Kent State fans were roaring. With 6:10 left in the overtime period, the volume of the KSU supporters increased as Maria Cambra Soler brought the ball down the right side of Syracuse’s half of the field.
Maria then passed the ball to her older sister, Helena Cambra Soler, at the 23-meter line. Helena brought the ball into the shooting circle and passed inside to teammate Jenna McCrudden, who was one-on-one with SU goalkeeper Brooke Borzymowski. McCrudden was able to get height on her shot and put the ball in the net over the sliding Borzymowski.
The right side of the stands erupted along with the Kent State bench. It was Kent State’s second victory over a ranked opponent this season after beating #22 Ohio State last week.
Syracuse (2-1) outshot Kent State (3-1) 16-5 and had five more corners than KSU on Saturday. But despite the Orange controlling the game on offense, especially in the first half, the second half and overtime saw Kent State capitalize on the Orange’s mistakes — very different from SU’s previous two games.
“We were slow to close our lines today,” head coach Ange Bradley said. “And our angles of pursuit weren’t as sharp as they could’ve been, and we dribbled way too much.”
In the first quarter, Syracuse got three shots on the net, including its only goal of the game. Junior forward Pleun Lammers drove up the right side, eventually moving along the backline with the ball. Lammers crossed it inside to Carolin Hoffmann and stayed at the right post, where Hoffmann passed it back to her and tapped it into the net.
Throughout the second quarter and the early part of the third quarter, the Orange outshot the Golden Flashes 8-0. But during that stretch, Syracuse was still prone to making mistakes.
With 11:05 left in the third, Orange midfielder Clara Morrison ran into the shooting circle with the ball and was ready to cross it to teammate Charlotte de Vries. De Vries, who was playing in her first game of the season after being the top scorer of the 2021 Junior Pan American Championship, had no one in front of her. But Morrison completely whiffed on the backhand pass attempt, and the ball rolled out of bounds.
Just over three minutes later, an Orange mistake cost them the lead. Sophomore back Eefke van den Nieuwenhof intercepted a Kent State pass and spun out of her team’s shooting circle, looking to clear the ball. However, Clara Rodriguez Seto stole the ball from van den Nieuwenhof just as the Syracuse back exited the shooting circle.
Rodriguez kept the Golden Flash on the attack and fired a backhand shot that bounced twice off the ground. SU goalkeeper Louise Pert, who had come into the game for Borzymowski, moved from the backline toward the ball. Pert’s secondary school coach Leah Spillane described Pert as always having an “attacking and aggressive style” where she could get the ball before it came to her.
But the aggressiveness hurt Pert because as the freshman goalkeeper got to the ball, it deflected off the stick of SU midfielder SJ Quigley and rolled into the back of the net.
“I think that it starts with the turnovers at the front of the field,” Bradley said. “I don’t look at that as the goalies’ performance — I look at the angles and the defense in that situation.”
After the Kent State goal, Syracuse struggled to find an offensive spark. While the Orange controlled the ball in the fourth quarter and prevented the Golden Flashes from shooting once, SU went 11 minutes without recording a shot. And despite two shots from de Vries in the final minutes, the Kent State defense held and carried the momentum into overtime, setting up the game-winner from McCrudden.