WLAX : As offense impresses, defense struggles in win over Raiders

first_imgWhen Syracuse midfielder Sarah Holden’s late second-half goal hit the back of the net to give SU a nine-goal lead, she completed an Orange run to give the team its largest lead of the game.But they wouldn’t score again for the final 8:11. Colgate, meanwhile, scored four straight goals in that span but came up short, losing 19-14.And though the contest was never really in doubt, the Orange did crumble in that final stretch.‘I think just kind of getting the kinks out,’ defender Catherine Rodriguez said. ‘We had been playing with some consistent people in there, but we mixed it up toward the end.’SU was without its starting goaltender in Liz Hogan for the season opener. The Big East Preseason Defensive Player of the Year had to sit out following a red card from last season.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFreshman goalie Alyssa Costantino started in Hogan’s place and allowed six goals in the first half. In last year’s matchup, Colgate scored five goals in the entire game. Defensively, things did not get much better in the second half. Before Colgate ended the game with those four straight goals, they had reeled off three straight goals during another point.Every time Syracuse scored and took a large lead, Colgate answered. The Orange had difficulties stopping them.But SU head coach Gary Gait isn’t overly worried.‘We just wanted to give everybody an opportunity to play,’ Gait said. ‘And I think we got a lot of new players and a lot of young players that don’t have a lot of experience, so we wanted to make sure they got some today.‘I think you saw a lot of the mistakes of being young and going deep in the lineup, and those types of things happen when you play 30-plus players in a game.’Costantino said it herself after the game. She felt the pressure. Hogan was watching from the stands, and a freshman was in her place. Then junior Brooke Conley took over for the last few minutes and struggled as well.But even though both goalies didn’t play well, the defender Rodriguez said the defense is to blame.‘We gave up some goals today, but I wouldn’t blame that on the goalie at all,’ Rodriguez said. ‘It goes on the whole defense. We definitely miss Liz, but at the same time Alyssa and Brooke did great in goal, so we’re really working as a defensive unit.’In the end, the Orange won. SU gave up 14 goals, but Gait said it was important the team used a deep bench in the first game of the season.He also praised Costantino. This was, after all, her first collegiate game.‘For a freshman coming in and starting, I thought she did a great job,’ Gait said. ‘That’s a tough situation to be in. But I thought she stepped up and did a great job as a freshman, and I think she’s got a bright future in net for us.’Costantino agreed there is always room for improvement on the defensive end.‘This first game we were really working on … communicating more and really picking up slides and just being there for each other and being able to help everyone out,’ Costantino said.There was some defensive success in the game. Colgate was held scoreless for nearly the first seven minutes of each half and for continuous spurts during the game.It just so happened that when the team scored, the goals didn’t stop. The Raiders scored in bunches and never let SU become too comfortable with its advantage.It’s something Rodriguez said will improve with time.‘We made some fouls that we probably wish we hadn’t and got some free position shots, so we’re just going to work to improve,’ Rodriguez said. ‘We’re just kind of getting used to … gelling together to get the defensive unit rolling.’rnmarcus@syr.edu Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on February 16, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Rachel: rnmarcus@syr.edulast_img

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