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During Syracuse’s 10th penalty corner of the game, Eefke van den Nieuwenhof rocketed a shot on the ground toward the bottom right corner of the goal. The ball didn’t find the back of the net, but the referees immediately motioned for a penalty stroke.
“I hit the shot on goal, and she stopped it with her foot on the line,” van den Nieuwenhof said. “Since the goalie was in front of the ball, it was a (penalty) stroke.”
Similar to the Orange’s game against No. 15 Wake Forest on Friday, SU midfielder Laura Graziosi stepped up to take the penalty stroke. Only this time, Graziosi buried the ball in the bottom right corner instead of the left to extend Syracuse’s lead to 2-0. But out of the 15 earned penalty corners against the Raiders, this was the only occasion across all four periods that Syracuse scored.
After tallying 33 shots and 15 penalty corners, No. 7 Syracuse (10-2, 3-0 Atlantic Coast) defeated a winless Colgate (0-10, 0-3 Patriot League) 3-0 on Sunday for the Orange’s eighth straight win. Syracuse is on its longest winning streak since winning the NCAA title in 2015. Twenty-one of the Orange’s shots stemmed from penalty corner plays, but only one goal, from Graziosi’s penalty stroke, came from these shots.
“You have a Friday night game against really tough opponents, and everything is just a split second slower,” head coach Ange Bradley said about her team’s penalty corner struggles. “If your timing is just that little bit different, you have to be better.”
Other than Graziosi’s penalty stroke, the only occasion in which SU found the back of the net from a penalty corner was when Quirine Comans rebounded a shot from van den Nieuwenhof. The ball was deflected, and Comans slashed it back past Colgate goalkeeper Anna Unger. But, after review, what would’ve been SU’s fourth goal was disallowed as the deflection of van den Nieuwenhof’s shot hit a Colgate defender and was deemed a dangerous play.
Unger finished with 18 saves against the Orange, but ultimately that wasn’t enough. Bradley said that Unger was “hot,” but van den Nieuwenhof still ended the contest with 10 shots and eight on goal, all of which came from penalty corner plays.
“I think their goalie had a really good game,” van den Nieuwenhof said. “We need to keep on improving and work on (penalty corners).”
While SU did struggle with penalty corner conversions, the Orange still put in a solid defensive performance by limiting the Raiders to only two shots and one penalty corner across four frames.
SU’s leading goalscorer in 2021, Pleun Lammers, sat out of today’s game for a break and to rest, Bradley said. In Lammers’ absence, Bradley rotated three freshmen — Vivian Rowan, Willemijn Boogert, and Rachel Sterle — as well as graduate student Vicky Beglin onto the field for playing time.
Throughout each quarter, much of the Orange’s attacking opportunities stemmed from the right flank, particularly through Charlotte de Vries. In recent games, de Vries has taken over as SU’s facilitator on that side of the field, alternating between the right forward and right midfielder positions. Against the Raiders, de Vries totaled eight shots with four on target. For almost all of these, the Pennsylvania native created her own space by cutting inside from the right side of the field, breezing past defenders to enter the shooting circle before launching her favored left-backhanded shot goalward.
“Against Carolina on a counter, it was very dangerous. She had a beautiful backhand shot,” Bradley said. “Against Wake (Forest) it was very crowded, so it just depends on what the tactic is (and) if the tactic’s there, it’s incredibly dangerous.”
Claire Cooke opened the scoring for Syracuse two minutes into the second quarter, after SJ Quigley bolted up the right flank and squared the ball in between two defenders in the shooting circle. Cooke dove forward to connect with Quigley’s pass, beating a diving Unger to the ball and guiding it into the far end of the net.
“I thought the goal embodied who Claire Cooke is, toughness, fight, scrap,” Bradley said. “That kid will do anything for her team, and she’s just starting to get the timing down a little bit better and the connections and getting comfortable in her role.”
Midfielder Clara Morrison capped off the victory for Syracuse with a scrappy goal late in the fourth quarter. The junior picked up a loose ball after de Vries lost control while dribbling along the byline on the right side of the goal, before shifting to get past Colgate’s defense. Morrison dove forward to get the shot off, landing out of bounds as the ball crossed the goal line.
“We had a good day defensively,” Bradley said. “(But) we know (the penalty corner) is an area we have to get better (at).”
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