In an interview with ESPN, as part of their “Car Wash” series before the kickoff to the season, head football coach Dino Babers talked about how the phrase “Orange is the New Fast” came about. It’s simply a play on the popular Netflix series “Orange is the New Black” that fits the new no-huddle pace of the offense this season.
The other fall teams on campus could easily claim ownership of the mantra. This is the case for the women’s soccer team.
After opening conference play with a draw to then-No. 20 Notre Dame, the Orange are now 7-1-2, and off to their fastest start since 1996 when they went 8-0-1 over the first nine games. They have also already won as many games as they did, in total, all of last year. The team is on pace to have one of its best seasons since 2012, and the source of the improvement is equal parts smarter non-conference scheduling and an attacking style on both ends. Aggressive play has paid off with goals, as well as big defensive stops. Even if the margins aren’t astronomical for SU, you can still see a significantly faster and smarter squad.
Things get tougher from here on out, though. Tonight, they face a formidable Clemson team that is currently ranked No. 13 in the country. It will be Syracuse’s biggest road test of the season thus far and their second consecutive ranked opponent. They’ll then travel to Coral Gables, Fla. to face Miami (5-4-0, 0-1-0 ACC) before rounding out their road trip in Durham, N.C. against No. 7 Duke (6-2-1, 0-1-0 ACC). Beyond that, the Orange still have to face Virginia Tech, North Carolina, and Florida State -- three teams that will most likely give Syracuse a run for their money.
The Atlantic Coast Conference is one of the toughest women’s soccer conferences in the country. There are currently six teams ranked out of 15 total, with three more receiving votes this week. Virginia and Florida State are currently sitting pretty at the number two and three spots, respectively.
There’s a path for the Orange to make a run to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2001, especially if they keep playing the way they have. If they can make it through the rest of the ACC slate relatively unscathed, they’ll have a viable shot at an At-Large bid. Earning a spot in the ACC Tournament would be icing on the cake.
Head coach Phil Wheddon may have finally found the key to sustained success in his ninth go-around, but only time will tell.