Down a goal late in the second half, the Syracuse field hockey team found itself in unfamiliar territory in today's home-opener against Albany.
After the season-opening, four-game Ohio road trip during which the Orange never trailed, today's 1-0 deficit was the first Syracuse had faced in 2014.
But that didn't seem to phase head coach Ange Bradley's team. The Orange got late goals from senior midfielder Jordan Page and senior forward Lauren Brooks to pull ahead of the Great Danes and win their first game of the season at J.S. Coyne Stadium.
"It's always great to have a good contest that you're battling back and forth in. You really have to dig deep and find out what's inside and whether you can get it done when you're back's against the wall," said Bradley on the game being so tightly-contested. "We found a way to win. We believed in ourselves, and we refused to lose."
It was the play of junior goalkeeper Jess Jecko that kept Syracuse within striking distance throughout. Jecko recorded six of her seven saves in the first half and denied Albany of several real scoring chances. But the Great Danes-- who, like the Orange, came into today's game undefeated -- finally broke through at the 47:50 mark, when Liza Morgan scored the afternoon's first goal.
The Orange waited only 12 minutes before Page, assisted by freshman midfielder Lieke Visser, came up with the equalizer.
"I think [that goal] was the momentum changer. They hadn't been scored on yet this season, so [we felt] it put the momentum in our favor," said Page.
Six minutes later, Brooks, also assisted by Visser and from just inside the circle, scored what ultimately turned out to be the game-winner.
"I saw the defender coming towards me and I tried to use her weight against her, so as she came I tapped [the ball] the opposite way to get the reverse shot," explained Brooks, describing her backhanded goal.
From there, Syracuse was able to control possession and prevent any further Albany scoring chances.
The Orange improved to a still-perfect 5-0 with the win.
"We're a really strong group of players. We work really hard at practice, and [being able to overcome adversity] is what makes Syracuse hockey so good," said Page. "We have the ability to refuse to lose and play hard throughout the whole game, regardless of the score."
Page and her teammates, however, won't have long to celebrate the victory. The Orange have an quick turnaround and will face Ball State tomorrow at 1 p.m. in their second home game of the season.