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Syracuse defense holds Duke to 4 shots as SU wins ACC finale

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ In a tied game with only a few minutes left in regulation, Duke’s Ashley Kristen had a chance for a one-on-one with Syracuse goalie Jess Jecko. The ball flew past Kristen and Jecko charged out of the cage.Neither player touched the ball as Jecko faked toward the ball and then simply let it trickle out of bounds.Duke never got a shot off on the play.After Kristen scored just 35 seconds into the game, the Orange only gave up three more shots the rest of the game. No. 10 Syracuse (11-4, 2-4 Atlantic Coast) defeated No. 6 Duke (11-5, 2-4) by a score of 2-1 on a sudden-death overtime goal by Emma Russell in front of 701 at J.S. Coyne Stadium on Saturday afternoon. SU didn’t allow a single penalty corner as its defense kept the Orange in the game, allowing Syracuse to win it.“That’s pretty darn good,” SU head coach Ange Bradley said of allowing only four shots, “… Numbers speak for themselves.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Blue Devils rarely penetrated Syracuse’s circle, a function of the Orange closing down on Duke’s forwards.Multiple injuries to the Orange’s backline forced freshmen Lies Lagerweij and Jessica Ross to both play defense for the first time.Lagerweij and Ross previously played forward and midfield respectively, but they rose to the challenge in the new position.“They didn’t play like freshmen,” Jecko said.Lagerweij had just recovered from a torn posterior cruciate ligament injury and this was her first game back on the field in eight weeks. Unaware of whether she would play, her family came from the Netherlands to visit Syracuse and got to witness her breakout performance.With just over 16 minutes left in the game, Duke’s Robin Blazing sent a lead pass down the sideline to teammate Jessica Buttinger, who then crossed the ball in front of the Orange goal. SU cleared the ball away before the Blue Devils got a shot off.Minutes later, Blazing and Buttinger connected again, except this time, Buttinger was met by Lagerweij and Ross. They double-teamed her along the end line and forced a turnover.When Duke pushed forward on offense, the Orange tried to pinch in defensively to protect the middle of the field.“When we defend, we want the field pretty compact,” Lagerweij said. “So we have to break down the play so we can come back together and then from there we can defend again.”Another key to SU’s defense was Jecko’s communication. She directed the backline and the on-field talking carried throughout the rest of the team, Russell said.“I think there was a lot of communication back there, which is something we haven’t seen all season,” Russell said, “and it really benefitted us and to keep them out of our circle that way.”As Syracuse used players at new positions, Jecko said the intensity in practice was higher this week. The defense usually works on eliminating space for opposing forwards, but it was especially aggressive getting after the offense in drills, then winning the last game of its ACC schedule.“We’ve had a lot of adjustments and positions and injuries,” Bradley said. “… I hope we can just stay healthy and keep growing from here.” Comments Published on October 25, 2014 at 8:20 pm Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschwedslast_img read more

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