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Questions abound for SU field hockey team as it heads into biggest weekend of season

September 17, 2020

first_img Comments Published on October 20, 2010 at 12:00 pm Facebook Twitter Google+center_img As the Syracuse field hockey team heads into the biggest weekend of the season, a number of questions surround the Orange and the changes that have been made in the past two weeks. With the deactivation of four starters for undisclosed reasons, the lineup has been shuffled around to the point where many are still unsure if they will see the field. But regardless of the distractions that have partially overshadowed SU’s recent success, players said their focus has never strayed from the weekend’s homestand against No. 4 Connecticut and No. 13 Boston College. The Orange has been working to maintain the composure that it has carried all season, and refuses to let any potential problem interfere with its routine. ‘Every day is just another day to us,’ freshman goalkeeper Rachel Sayer said. ‘It’s another step to a longer season, and we all want the longest season possible. Collectively, we all need to work together and have a great weekend.’ Though Boston College poses a significant threat, the fact that UConn (13-3, 3-1 Big East) is also clawing for the Big East lead makes that game even more important for SU. If the No. 8 Orange (10-4, 4-0) can keep the blinders on and defeat the Huskies on Saturday, the team will clinch the top seed in the Big East tournament and set its course for the NCAA tournament. UConn is coming off of a 5-1 stretch in which its only loss was to No. 1 North Carolina. The Huskies have only allowed 14 goals in 16 games this season. SU assistant coach Guy Cathro said that since the Huskies have been excellent on both sides of the field, the Orange has spent days practicing and preparing for the little moments that can change a game.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text ‘We’ve worked on our fundamentals and the different set pieces that we bring in,’ Cathro said. ‘Corners are very important against UConn because of their good defense, and you need to be solid and secure with your defensive corners and inventive with your attacking corners. Every day, we’ve looked better and we’ve improved different parts of our game.’ Though the focus and approach will be the same regardless of who is on the field, there is concern about the mental readiness of a team that does not have a set lineup going into the biggest game of the season. Of the players who did not participate in the last three games, senior forward Shelby Schraden and sophomore goalkeeper Leann Stiver were both at practice Thursday but without indication as to their playing status. The goalkeeper issue is perhaps the most pressing for the Orange, as any of Stiver, Sayer and freshman Natasha Constantine could be called upon to start in the cage. Cathro said that no starter had been named to this point. But with the recent outstanding performances of new additions to the lineup, including Sayer’s first three career wins, players said that anyone who steps on the field or into the cage has gained the composure necessary to take on the Huskies. ‘I think the freshmen that have come in over the last couple of weeks are gaining confidence in every game they play,’ sophomore back Iona Holloway said. ‘We also have confidence in all of our goalkeepers. If it’s Leann, if it’s Natasha, if it’s Rachel, we have confidence that they can do their job and they can help us do our job as a unit.’ If there is any added pressure to the weekend, Sayer said that it is not because of who may or may not play against UConn and Boston College. It’s because the Orange has an opportunity to make a statement against two quality teams, and that’s why the team has kept its focus squarely on the two upcoming games. ‘These are both top 20 teams,’ Sayer said. ‘If we win these games, it’s going to put our team at a place where everyone’s going to know we’re something not to be messed with, and that we’re going to be a final four team.’ jakrakow@syr.edulast_img

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