Syracuse defeats rival Connecticut in showdown to take Big East regular-season title

Syracuse defeats rival Connecticut in showdown to take Big East regular-season title

September 17, 2020 xdjmhapwdkkt 0

first_img Related Stories Seniors key Syracuse to victory over Connecticut in final game of regular season Published on October 28, 2012 at 10:44 pm Contact Phil: [email protected] | @PhilDAbb Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Kelsey Millman jumped into the arms of Syracuse goalkeeper Leann Stiver, wide smiles spread across their faces. Minutes later, Millman was the first to hoist Syracuse’s Big East regular season championship trophy in the air.“It’s exciting. It’s awesome to win with these girls,” said Millman, sporting a championship T-shirt. “They’re a great group of girls.”With its 3-2 win over No. 4 Connecticut (16-2, 5-1 Big East) on Sunday, the No. 3 Orange (16-1, 6-0) clinched the Big East regular-season title for the third time in four years. Behind freshman Gillian Pinder’s three points, Syracuse earned the top seed in next weekend’s Big East tournament in Louisville, Ky., where it will play Providence in the first round.After honoring the senior class in front of 444 fans, Syracuse extended its winning streak at J.S. Coyne Stadium to 36 games in its final regular-season game of the season.The Huskies — coming off their first loss of the season to Princeton on Oct. 21 — posed a challenge to an Orange defense that had allowed seven goals in its previous four games. Connecticut boasted three of the conference’s top scorers and drew an average of almost nine penalty corners per game.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBoth offenses were slow to find their rhythms, as the first shot wasn’t taken until more than seven minutes into the game.Liz McInerney and SU finally broke through on an attacking corner in the 29th minute. The Orange’s initial shot was blocked, but she ran to her right for the loose ball and shot it past UConn goaltender Sarah Mansfield to the left corner of the cage, giving SU a 1-0 lead.“I just hit it and I prayed it went in because I hit the post the one before,” McInerney said with a laugh.With the first half winding down, UConn midfielder Louisa Boddy — the Big East’s leading goal-scorer — got off a clean, high-velocity shot on a penalty corner, but it zipped wide to the left of the cage. When the half ended, Syracuse’s one-goal lead was still intact.Connecticut quickly scored the equalizer in the second half. The Orange failed to clear the ball out of its defensive zone, allowing Chloe Hunnable to take an uncontested shot past Stiver to knot the game 1-1.Six minutes later, the Orange responded in style.Pinder sprinted along the near sideline, merged into the center of the field and passed ahead to Millman, who laid out and deflected the ball into the back right of the cage to retake the lead.With eight and a half minutes remaining, Syracuse extended its lead. On a penalty corner, SU midfielder Jordan Page set the ball for Pinder, who tipped the ball in for a 3-1 lead.One of the Orange’s few weaknesses this season has been its execution on penalty corners, but the unit delivered on Sunday with two goals.“We’ve been making that a refocus for us and we’ve been making some strides in the last few weeks with that. And today it proved really important, right?” head coach Ange Bradley said, laughing.Pinder’s insurance goal proved to be crucial. With just less than five minutes left, Connecticut cut the Orange’s lead to one goal.Playing with desperation for the final five minutes, the Huskies threw numbers to pressure Syracuse’s backfield in hopes of forcing a turnover. But the Orange held on and the celebration ensued.With smiles on each of their faces, the players posed for pictures with each other and the trophy, savoring what they hoped was the first of three victorious moments this season.The team’s focus now shifts to the Big East tournament next weekend, followed by the NCAA tournament.“There were some really beautiful things, there were some really ugly things and the greatest thing is we got a win,” Bradley said. “And these kids get to always remember this the rest of their lives — winning against UConn on their home turf.” Commentslast_img

 

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