Syracuse defense strong, but imperfect in 1-0 loss to No. 7 Clemson

first_img Published on October 31, 2015 at 5:41 pm Contact Tomer: [email protected] | @tomer_langer Facebook Twitter Google+ Courtney Brosnan made her first save just 1:07 seconds into the match. Clemson attacking midfielder Shannon Horgan received a pass right in the center of the goalie’s box. She shot it toward Brosnan, who quickly deflected it down to the ground while falling on top of the ball.After getting stopped twice within the first 11 minutes, Clemson managed to break through. Midfielder Samantha Staab lofted a long cross from the middle of Clemson’s attacking half. The ball found it’s way to Jenna Watson, who was unmarked. She headed the ball over Brosnan’s outstretched arms.“We were all marked up and on the weak-side there was an extra player,” centerback Jessica Vigna said. “… We were trying to communicate on who’s getting who … and that player that was sitting in between us wound up getting it in.”That one early goal proved to be the deciding goal in Syracuse’s (7-11-1, 3-7 Atlantic Coast) loss to No. 6 Clemson (13-3-1, 7-3) in the final game of the season on Saturday at SU Soccer Stadium.In the first half, Syracuse was struggling to prevent the stronger and more physical Clemson players from serving the ball deep into the box. Clemson was doing a good job of switching the field of play from one side to another in the midfield.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“They were switching the fields a lot and as they kept switching their forwards and midfielders were popping off into the midfield or coming onto the backline, interchanging,” Vigna said. “And that’s extremely difficult to defend because … you don’t know if they’re gonna serve, if they’re gonna play it short. It’s extremely difficult.”With the Orange defense struggling to prevent the Tigers from serving balls in, the onus was put on Brosnan to help bail out the defense. She did just that, racking up seven saves in the first half, the most she’s had in any half this season.Along with the acrobatic split she had on the first Tiger shot of the game, she had a few saves where she had to jump as high as she could just to punch out balls that were nearing the top post.Things changed in the second half. The Orange defenders started winning more of the long balls in the air and were preventing the Tigers from making those long runs that were so successful in the first half.Head coach Phil Wheddon said that in the first half, two of Clemson’s midfielders were running down into the attacking box, and SU’s midfielders were running with them to mark them. In the second half, he had his defenders mark those running attackers, and had his midfielders stay in place to challenge the service balls.“The forwards were denying a lot more serves so that obviously helped us out in the back,” Brosnan said. “In the back we were way more organized picking up marks so we were able to win more headers that way.”Brosnan didn’t have to make any saves in the second half.Still, Brosnan finished with 81 on the season. The next highest tally is 69 by Boston College goalkeeper Alexis Bryant.“I trust her with my life,” Vigna said about Brosnan.Although Wheddon admitted that it was tough to not send out the seniors with a win, he still saw a lot of positives in SU’s performance against one of the best teams in the country.“I’m proud of them, I told that that a minute ago, I’m exceptionally proud of them,” Wheddon said about his defense. “They didn’t back down as other teams have done against Clemson. We were in this all the way to the 90th minute.” Commentslast_img

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