Syracuse struggles to convert scoring chances in season-ending loss to Michigan State

first_img Published on November 16, 2013 at 4:33 pm Contact Sam: [email protected] | @SamBlum3 Ange Bradley didn’t mince words.Encircled by a crowd of reporters, the visibly emotional Syracuse head coach had no trouble diagnosing her team’s Achilles heel.“Finishing,” Bradley snapped. “Getting the ball behind the goalie is the difference.”For the top-seeded Orange (16-4, 4-2 Atlantic Coast) on Saturday afternoon, converting on its scoring opportunities proved to be extremely difficult. In its shocking 2-1 loss to No. 20 Michigan State (14-9, 4-2 Big Ten) in the opening round of the NCAA tournament at J.S. Coyne Stadium, No. 2 Syracuse outshot the Spartans 21-4, but was continuously denied by a hounding MSU defense.Each time Syracuse rifled the ball in the direction of the cage, the threat was immediately neutralized and the partisan crowd groaned in frustration.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“It was just that the space was so compressed,” Bradley said. “We need to get more corners and we didn’t.”The Orange had just four corner attempts on the afternoon. Three came off the stick of Leonie Geyer, who’s three shots on goal led the team. With just 7:30 remaining, Geyer had the last on-goal chance for the Orange, but Spartans goalkeeper Molly Cassidy had no trouble deflecting it away.With 16 seconds left in the game, Laura Hahnefeldt pushed a desperate attempt into the middle of the field but her shot slowly skidded to the heart of the Spartan defense and was cleared as the final ticks came off the clock.Frustration and despair were evident on the SU players’ faces, as its season came to an end in a game that could have easily gone the other way.Jordan Page said her team played the right way, but that it somehow wasn’t enough.“I thought we took good shots,” Page said. “I thought the goalkeeper made a couple good saves.“It’s not a fun situation to be in right now.”Cassidy finished with 10 saves, and only one goal allowed. She credited the four defenders in front of her for making her job easier.“Our defense started with four in line, and that’s honestly what helped us win the game today,” Cassidy said. “The team worked as a whole to get the low-angle shots for me that were the most predictable.”Cassidy has allowed just four goals in Michigan State’s five-game playoff winning streak. On Sept. 6, the senior allowed three goals to the Orange, and was later pulled midway through a 4-0 loss. Cassidy credited her improved focus for curtailing Syracuse’s scoring opportunities this time around.“My goalie coach always says the most important save is the first one, then the one after that,” Cassidy said. “Really, I just did what I was supposed to do. It was less chaotic.”The chaos continued after the game as Cassidy was congratulated by all her teammates.On the other side of the field, the mood was somber. Bradley credited her opponents, but couldn’t hide her disappointment as her eyes swelled, noting that her side had 17 more opportunities.“They elicited a lot of frustration,” Bradley said. “Unfortunately in 70 minutes we weren’t able to change it.“It’s incredibly disappointing. Nobody likes to lose.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more