Syracuse defense stifles No. 4 Virginia in 3-1 win

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 25, 2015 at 8:05 pm Contact Sam: [email protected] | @Sam4TR Syracuse’s defense wore masks and stood inside the goal, rushing forward as Virginia passed a penalty corner to the top of the circle.The Orange closed out on Tara Vittese, one half of the dangerous midfield that SU prepared for all week.“(Virginia) didn’t have a lot of space to play all day,” Syracuse midfielder Alma Fenne said.Vittese, presented with no passing lanes, wound up. As the shot sailed wide left with 4:30 remaining and the Cavaliers trailing 3-1, the scoring opportunity — and game — slipped away from Virginia.The game ended 3-1 and Syracuse held the nation’s seventh-highest scoring offense – the Cavaliers tally 3.88 goals per game – to a single goal. UVA recorded seven shots in the first half, but was limited to just one in the second half. No. 2 Syracuse (8-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast) used lessons from a week of practice, improved second-half execution and fitness to hand No. 4 Virginia (8-1, 2-1) its first loss of the season.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We played really great defense today,” head coach Ange Bradley said. “They’re one of the top teams in the country on attack.”All week Syracuse focused on defense in practice and scouted Virginia’s attack with film breakdowns, back Roos Weers said. In particular, the Orange wanted to shut down midfielders Vittese and Lucy Hyams.“They’re probably the best midfield in the country,” Weers said. “They’re really fast. We focused on keeping them in front.”While the pair accounted for half of the Cavaliers’ eight shots, they couldn’t find the back of the net. On Friday, whenever Hyams and Vittese touched the ball, the Orange swarmed.When Hyams attacked the baseline, she was immediately met by SU’s Serra Degnan and Alyssa Manley. When Hyams tried to pass inside to a cutting Cavalier in front of the net, Manley and Degnan deflected the ball to Syracuse teammates.When the Cavaliers pushed on the offensive, goalie Jess Jecko said the team would use a substitution trick and take a player off the field, bring the ball up on the left side and then sub a player in off the bench, who was uncovered and had space to reverse the ball.“Once we realized it, we started yelling out, ‘Hey! A girl’s coming in!’” Jecko said. “I can’t say enough of how the defense played today, especially against a tough ACC school.”As the game progressed, the Orange also gained an upperhand in fitness, both Liz Sack and Fenne noted.At 64:25, two green cards assessed to Weers and the Orange had to play down two players, 10-on-8 in the field. Syracuse packed it in and played conservatively to kill off the penalty. In that time, Syracuse staved off two Virginia pushes on offense and midfielder Laura Hurff broke up a pass with her ankle to slow the Cavaliers.“That’s the point where (our fitness) showed,” Fenne said. “They struggled.”The Orange’s lines on defense, the pushing and pulling, improved greatly in the second half, Jecko said. As Syracuse solved Virginia’s offense — the substitutions and angles taken by Hyams and Vittese — the Cavaliers grew more frazzled.After Sack scored Syracuse’s third goal to give the team a two-goal cushion, Virginia called a timeout. In the huddle, Bradley stressed remaining calm and continuing to play its defensive game plan.“(Coach’s message) was that we need to stay focused,” Weers said. “They got a little unorganized, but we stayed disciplined. It was a great win for us.” Commentslast_img read more

Odell Beckham Jr. speaks as if trade from Giants to Browns was his choice

first_imgConsidering the perceived trajectories of the Giants and Browns, there is no reason to dismiss Odell Beckham Jr. when the 26-year-old wide receiver suggests that, football-wise, he is in a better situation in Cleveland for 2019 than he would have been in New York.But while Beckham talks up his new team this summer, the NFL’s annual, league-wide period of unapologetic optimism, the awkward reality is that the superstar wideout did not choose to play for the Browns. He was traded. Of course, we all know how this works in the NFL: If the Browns win in 2019, any potential Beckham-related issues will be buried by the elation of success. And to Beckham’s point, Cleveland has a chance to compete for a playoff berth. New York, it seems, does not.But don’t let Beckham’s words mince the truth about his relocation to Cleveland. He was traded to the Browns; he did not sign with them in free agency.Because if things go poorly in Cleveland this season, chances are we’ll all be reminded. MORE: Browns-Steelers suddenly among the NFL’s best rivalriesIn a recent, wide-ranging interview with Complex UK, Beckham was asked about his “biggest career move to date.” His answer was just as conveniently void of the word “trade.””I just felt with the Giants I was just stuck at a place that wasn’t working for me anymore,” Beckham said. “I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to reach my full potential there; mentally, physically, spiritually, everything I felt capable of doing, I just couldn’t see it happening there. So I think allowing me to be in an environment where I can be myself and give it a different approach, I feel like my football will benefit.”I’m just excited about being able to play football again and not have to deal with all the other stuff and politics that came with my previous role.”Understandable? Certainly. Disingenuous? A little.This isn’t the first time — and it certainly won’t be the last — that Beckham has expressed his excitement about playing in Cleveland. He said he felt “like a little kid” during minicamp. He also recently told GQ about his unhappiness in New York.But Beckham did not ask to be traded by the Giants. And despite trade rumors that surfaced prior to the deal, New York general manager Dave Gettleman had said he wouldn’t move the wide receiver.”(Gettleman) said he wasn’t going to trade (Beckham), then he traded him,” Landon Collins — who also was traded away from New York this year — recently said of the Giants GM. “We (were) all surprised because that’s one of the best receivers in the game and for him to do that and lie to everybody, it’s not a good look for players and teammates.”To be fair, even though the Giants gave Beckham a massive contract extension late last summer, the 2019 season was rocky enough to have ruined any good feelings. The receiver was fined for his comments about quarterback Eli Manning’s play. He headbutted an AC unit on the Giants’ sideline during a blowout loss to the Eagles. He faced criticism from team owner John Mara. He was blamed for a failed onside kick recovery. He missed the last four games of the season with a quad injury.Yet even with that as the background, after the deal that sent Beckham to Cleveland, Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield had to respond to speculation that the wide receiver was unhappy with the trade. Sporting News contributor and former NFL team exec Jeff Diamond pointed to Beckham’s absence from the Browns’ voluntary OTAs as a sign he might not be as excited as he claims.MORE: Ranking the NFL’s top wide receivers for 2019last_img read more