Syracuse unravels in opening moments of 2nd half in 6-3 loss to NC State

first_imgWhen Georgia Allen kicked the ball back to Mackenzie Vlachos to signal the start of the second half, Syracuse knew the next 45 minutes could be the defining game of its season. Despite trailing 2-1 to No. 23 North Carolina State, the game was far from over. SU proved it could score, which it did in the fourth minute, and had matched the Wolfpack’s intensity and quality throughout the first half.Three minutes later, all Syracuse could do was try to avoid further embarrassment.Two minutes into the half, quick, one-touch passing between NC State’s Kia Rankin and Tziarra King sent Maxine Blackwood through on goal, where she slid the ball past a charging Jordan Harris for the visitor’s third goal of the night. A minute later, Mia Thillet laced a pinpoint through ball across to field to an oncoming Rankin, who provided a clinical finish.“The five minutes before or after a half starts and a half ends and the five minutes after a long stoppage, you’ve got to stay switched on,” SU head coach Phil Wheddon said. “We have to make sure we don’t allow service, make sure that our body position is such that we don’t allow players to run through us and around us.”The two goals buried the Orange’s chances of a win or draw, and only marked half of the damage Syracuse (3-10, 0-5 Atlantic Coast) would endure in the second half in an eventual 6-3 loss to NC State (9-3-2, 2-2-1) on Thursday night at SU Soccer Stadium. The defeat marks SU’s eighth straight, the longest such streak in program history.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBefore the Wolfpack put on a scoring clinic, SU had its dream start.The Orange earned a corner kick in the fourth minute and capitalized in an unconventional way. Sydney Brackett curled the ball into a packed six-yard box where NC State goalkeeper Sydney Wootten stood stagnant near the back post. When Wootten saw Brackett’s strike curling inside the front post, she lunged forward to try and swat it away, but instead palmed it into the roof of the net. It was SU’s first goal in 423 minutes, and the Orange celebrated like it.When the ball bulged into the net, all seven SU players in the box put their arms out and sprinted at Brackett, but the junior evaded her teammates’ embrace. With a big grin on her face, Brackett leapt and ran toward the Syracuse bench while all nine other field players chased after her. As she walked back to her position and prepared for play to restart, she continued to laugh and smile.“That’s what we needed,” Wheddon said. “You want to score early, and you want to try, from that point, to maintain the lead.”But the Orange’s glee was short-lived. Its first lead since Sept. 13 was cancelled after just seven minutes when Ricarda Walkling found Blackwood darting behind Shannon Aviza and Clarke Brown, the left side of SU’s back line. Walkling slipped a through ball in between the two defenders and to the feet of Blackwood, who took two touches before smashing the ball beyond Lysianne Proulx and into the top-left corner.After conceding, Syracuse struggled to keep possession, often booting the ball upfield to Allen, SU’s sole striker, in a sea of red jerseys. On the rare occasion Allen got a touch on the ball, she was immediately dispossessed by a swarm of Wolfpack defenders. NC State’s pressure and time on the ball finally broke down the Orange six minutes after its equalizer.King snuck up on Kate Donovan from behind, swiped the ball, and drove 35 yards into SU’s penalty area before beating Proulx with a low, right-footed strike.“She’s fast. She makes quick decisions,” Brown said about King, who has eight goals on the season. “(The second goal of the game) was a quick turnaround and we were out of position and not as close as we should be. It was a lack of communication. We need to be more alert at all times.”For the remainder of the first half, Syracuse reversed the narrative. It used solid link-up play and smart decisions in the middle and attacking third to create three shots in the opening 45 minutes.In the 25th minute, Brackett and Allen combined to send Kate Hostage, who returned from a left ankle injury after missing three games, through on goal. Hostage got within ten yards of the goal and fired a shot into Wootten’s foot and out for a corner kick.“We made sure we got the little details down,” Hostage said. “We had a lot of creativity and combination play. It’s just a couple defensive details and keeping the ball (letting us down).”The Wolfpack added two more goals through Blackwood and Kursten von Klahr while SU achieved its highest single-game goal total of the season with second-half goals from Meghan Root and Steph deLaforcade. Despite having its best offensive outing of 2018, the Orange must continue to strive toward complete, 90-minute performances, Wheddon said.“We enjoyed celebrating the goals but at the end of the day that wasn’t enough,” Wheddon said. “I’m very disappointed that we conceded the number of goals that we did, especially because we felt like we were in the game the whole time.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on October 4, 2018 at 11:15 pm Contact David: ddschnei@syr.edulast_img read more