Get excited Syracuse Orange fans! The new athletic calendar officially starts tonight with the women’s soccer season opener. They’ll host New Hampshire at 7 to begin the new campaign. Here’s where the program stands right now:
The Adams Project
When Nicky Thrasher Adams took over as the team’s head coach in 2019, she inherited a program on a sharp decline. The Orange had gone from hovering around .500 to bottoming out hard. In her first two years at the helm, SU barely had enough players to field a team - so few that they actually didn’t play any scrimmages in the spring of 2021, when many of the remaining veterans had departed.
Starting from scratch is never easy, but Adams has stressed the importance of building a welcoming team culture, one that is focused on players’ wellbeing just as much as their athletic success. In her attempt to do so, she has loaded up the roster with young talent. There were some signs of progress early last year: the Orange won four of their first five games, which doubled Adams’s win total in her first two seasons. Freshmen made an impact on both sides of the ball. From there though, injuries and mismatched talent levels led to Syracuse losing out. That included an 0-10 ACC slate.
In an interview with the D.O. last October, Adams admitted that the program still had a lot of work to become respectable again - but she is confident in her developing players.
“So many of our players got tremendous experience that is only going to help us improve for the future,” Adams said.
And so it begins. . . . ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/BpjhQUpQ7T— Syracuse Women's Soccer (@CuseWSOC) August 2, 2022
Youth Movement Taking Shape
The 2021 Orange roster had eleven freshmen on it. Eight more have joined that group this year, creating one of the youngest rosters in the conference. Goaltender Lysianne Proulx is gone after five seasons with the Orange. So is former Captain and lead scorer Meghan Root.
While the expectations aren’t high, there are pieces to be intrigued about. Midfielder Pauline Machtens matched Root’s goal total last year as a true freshman and is already shaping out to be a two-way threat. Ashley Rauch had a goal and an assist in her first three games before being lost for the rest of her first season, and forward Erin Flurey is set to see game action after missing her entire freshman year. The defense and goalie positions also have an influx of potential starters.
What helps the Orange even more is that for the first time since Adams became head coach, there was a full spring practice. If media day is any indication, the future core is already gelling and building Adams’s desired chemistry.
Examining the Competition
SU’s nonconference schedule features home games against New Hampshire, UConn, Lafayette, Sienna, Merrimack, and Cornell, along with trips to Eastern Michigan and Binghampton. After last season’s hot start, you can expect competitive play from Syracuse here.
The ACC lineup involves hosting Duke, UNC, Miami, Clemson, and NC State. The Orange will also travel to Wake Forest, Boston College, Virginia, Pitt, and Virginia Tech. This is where there some progress needs to be made, as Adams has collected only two conference wins so far.
Best of luck to WSOC in 2022 and beyond!