Abundance of freshmen has led to fewer goals for Syracuse

first_img Published on October 16, 2018 at 9:34 pm Contact Kaci: [email protected] In Syracuse’s first game this season, freshmen contributed in each of the four goals. Kira Wimbert and Laura Graziosi both scored in their first SU game — Graziosi has scored once more, but Wimbert hasn’t scored since.Featuring its youngest team since 2008, No. 9 Syracuse’s (8-5, 1-4 Atlantic Coast) season has partly relied on the output of its youth. Freshmen, while accounting for 32.1 percent of SU’s starts this season, have only scored five of Syracuse’s 23 goals. They have recorded over half of the team’s assists, though.“(Being one of the youngest teams in SU’s history) has its benefits, it has its negative things about it,” freshman Tess Queen said. “But I think we’ve handled it really well.”The Orange’s 2017 roster had twice the number of upperclassmen as it does now. Last year, Syracuse scored 45 regular season goals and earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament before losing in the first round. One year later, the Orange replaced five upperclassmen with five underclassmen.Near the beginning of this season, the Orange faced three top-10 opponents in three games. All three were losses, including a home loss against Duke. The loss to the Blue Devils was the worst offensive performance by an SU team under Ange Bradley with zero shots. It was SU’s first three-game losing streak since 2014.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textLaura Angle | Digital Design EditorSince the losing streak, SU has gone 5-2, losing only to the top-ranked team in the country, North Carolina, and divisional opponent No. 16 Wake Forest. The Orange picked up a top-10 win against then-No. 8 Boston College as one of those five wins.“I think we’ve acclimated very good,” Graziosi said. “You can see in the end of the season we’re all getting like better and stronger, and we’re just used to everything now.”Graziosi leads her class in goals this season (2) and is third overall on the team. The freshman from the Netherlands started all 13 games for the Orange. Graziosi expected to play a lot, based on what she was told during recruiting, she said. But she didn’t expect to start every game of her freshman year. Neither did Queen, the only other freshman to do so. Queen leads the team in assists (5) and is tied with Graziosi for third-most points (7).Against then-No. 10 Virginia, the two connected for SU’s lone goal. Coming off a penalty corner, the Orange were unable to find immediate success. But then Queen got into position to assist Graziosi for her second goal of the season. It would also help SU to its second of five overtime games this season, and the only one it lost.A month later, SU faced another top-10 opponent in Boston College. The game went into overtime, but this time the Orange came out victorious with help from Wimbert, who had two assists.“They’re learning a lot, they’re getting tougher,” Bradley said, “still not as tough as I’d like to see them, but they’re learning toughness.”They immediately noticed they needed to adapt to the speed of the game. Wimbert played in Germany before coming to SU and, for her, the differences stemmed from practice styles. Before playing in the U.S., Wimbert said she often practiced a new technique at a slower pace to learn it. Now, at Syracuse, it’s “fast from the beginning” so that the athletes know what to expect in game, she said. As the end of the season nears, they’ve adjusted.Syracuse only has two regular season games left before the ACC tournament. Last time the Orange had a team this young, in 2008, it reached the program’s first final four. But that year the Orange put up 107 goals in the regular season and went 19-1, compared to 23 goals and eight wins so far this season.“We had to start from the beginning and learn a lot,” Graziosi said, “and now we’re near the end of the season and we’ve learned so much that really helps us in the field.” Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Commentslast_img read more