Syracuse began their 2015 campaign with a romp of UMass in Amherst, Mass. yesterday afternoon. What started as a scoreless tie for the first 10 or so minutes turned quickly into a 3-0 contest at the half. The action didn't stop there as the Orange would go on to score three more goals in the second half, all leading to a 6-0 rout of the Minutewomen.
UMass had come into the game looking to build off of a 2014 season that was almost identical in overall record to their opponent: 5-9-5 (3-3-2 A10). Nine of last year's 11 starters were returning, making fifth-year head coach Ed Matz's job that much easier on paper. Top goal-scorer Jackie Bruno is poised to end her career in maroon on a high note. Bruno had six goals in the 17 games she played in for a total of 12 points. Behind her, junior forward Meghan Burke scored three times and had two assists for eight points. In net, red shirt junior goalkeeper Danielle Kriscenski started 13 games, allowing 18 goals and saving another 67 for a 1.29 goals-against average and .788 save percentage. Kriscenski also had five clean sheets in 2014.
Across the pitch, Syracuse had a disappointing Fall season in which they went 5-10-4 (2-7-1 ACC). In the Spring though, the Orange ended up going undefeated in four friendlies, seemingly showing a good amount of progress in just a few short months. Junior forward Stephanie Skilton, top scorer for Syracuse last year, is looking to continue her success and only improve her shooting percentage (.242) from there. Senior forward Maya Pitts looks to go out soaring after scoring only three times in 2014, a major disappointment for her. Junior forward Alex Lamontagne sets out to improve upon her campaign last season as well after also only scoring three goals. Between the pipes, sophomore goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan hopes to continue to stay healthy and work on her goals-against average (1.51) and save percentage (.800) this season.
Now, to the actual game action from yesterday.
The ladies in orange played a pretty steady game of keep-away, only letting up a few chances to UMass that amounted to nothing more than a few shots on-goal. Courtney Brosnan did an excellent job fending off any close strikes, but the defensive unit in front of her was even better. Syracuse scored three times in each half, amounting to their most lopsided victory in 13 years.
Grad student Alexis Koval got things rolling, off of one of the team's eight corner kicks of the half. She siezed the chance when the net became clear, the first punch of many. Stephanie Skilton beat her defender after senior defender Erin Simon crossed to ball to her into the middle/top of the box, giving the Orange a 2-0 lead in the 22nd minute. Just over 60 seconds later, sophomore Sheridan Street channeled a bit of her inner Carli Lloyd, crushing the ball in from 20 yards out to make it 3-0.
The second half began with Syracuse forcing two straight offside calls on the Minutewomen. Then, Alex Lamontagne got things going again on a great cross from Maya Pitts in the 59th minute. Less than 10 minutes later, Koval scored her second goal of the game on a penalty shot in the box. Then, after helping on two of her teammates' goals, it was Pitts' time to shine, on a cross that she booted past the keeper from six yards out.
Head coach Phil Wheddon was very pleased with the result, as he remarked after the game to The Daily Orange.
"Obviously, it's great to open the season with a victory, and a convincing one at that." Wheddon said. "...I'm proud of the ladies. Some of the goals were absolutely spectacular."
It was quite a statement, albeit against a team with seemingly similar statistics.
- Alexis Koval: 2 goals, 1 assist
- Maya Pitts: 1 goal, 2 assists
- Courtney Brosnan: 3 saves; recorded a shutout
The next game for the Orange is this Sunday against Providence College in Providence, RI. The team looks to continue all of the good things that happened in yesterday's season opener and improve to 2-0 in 2015.