Trojans enter conference tourney in the top spot

first_imgAfter capping a 22-1 season and an undefeated record in conference play with a win over UC Irvine on Saturday, the No. 1 Trojans are staying in the comfort of their own home as they enter the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament with the top seed.The Trojans will ride a 39-game home winning streak, as well as a 15-game overall winning streak, into McDonald’s Swim Stadium, when they face the No. 8 seed (yet to be determined) on Friday.At the buzzer · Senior two-meter Shea Buckner scored the winning goal as time expired in last year’s MPSF conference championship. – Katelynn Whitaker | Daily TrojanUSC’s winning streaks were challenged over the last month with difficult matches against UC Santa Barbara, UCLA, Stanford and Irvine, but, behind strong defensive attacks and a couple of key plays, the Trojans were able to maintain their perfect conference record.For the seniors who have led the Trojans throughout the season, this tournament marks the last time they will compete in a conference event. Since 2006, the first year the group was together, USC has gone 96-6, winning one NCAA tournament (2008) and placing second in two others (2006 and 2007). The Trojans also won the MPSF tournament the last two years.Last year, the Trojans fared well in the MPSF tournament, beating Irvine and UCLA to advance to the championship match against Pepperdine. In the title match, senior two-meter Shea Buckner scored on a buzzer-beater to put USC up 3-2, lifting the Trojans to a 27-0 record and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Championships, which they eventually swept as well.The Trojans will finish their postseason with the NCAA tournament, which takes place a week after the MPSF tournament.last_img read more

Defensive lapses plague Syracuse in 4-0 loss to Duke

first_img“We knew that they were going to be pressing us before the game, but we didn’t execute our game plan as well as we had hoped to,” Tivnan said. “We really wanted to swing the ball around more, bounce it in and out of their shape … I think if we had stepped it up we could have broken them down more.”Heading into Sunday’s matchup, Syracuse knew all about Duke’s smothering pressure, Tivnan said. The Orange’s game plan was to swing the ball across the back line with pace to make the Blue Devils’ attackers chase, then bounce passes back-and-forth with the midfield to further stretch out the visitor’s midfield and attacking unit. But Tivnan said SU didn’t execute it.“They aren’t team issues,” Wheddon said. “It comes down to an individual decision at any point in time.” Published on September 16, 2018 at 6:11 pm Contact David: ddschnei@syr.edu Comments For 60 minutes, No. 13 Duke had outplayed Syracuse in every facet of the game. The Blue Devils were quicker, made more accurate passes and had converted their chances. Their dominance led to three goals before the hour mark.“More urgency, let’s go!” Wheddon yelled in the 62nd minute as SU chased after the ball. “Up, up, up! High press!”The command was the loudest Wheddon had been all game, and it triggered a response from the Orange. SU immediately applied high pressure to Duke’s back line, won the ball back and linked together six passes to generate a chance for Georgia Allen, who was tackled by Delaney Graham before she could get a shot off. Graham cleared the ball to SU defender Jenna Tivnan, who subsequently gave the ball away to cause a Duke counter-attack.No matter how hard the Orange worked or how many spurts of quality play it had, Duke tenaciously sought after the ball until it won it back. The Blue Devils (7-1-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) used a suffocating high press to force Syracuse (3-6, 0-1) into making errors all over the field en route to a 4-0 victory on Sunday afternoon at SU Soccer Stadium.All season long, SU has struggled to produce, scoring just six goals all season. When SU has conceded more than two goals, it’s always lost. When SU has competed, the defense has led the way.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textDefensive lapses on and off the ball were a main factor in the Orange’s loss, Wheddon said. When SU was defending, it gave Duke’s midfielders and attackers too much time and space on the ball. When it won the ball back, lack of composure and the Blue Devils’ constant pressing led to turnovers. The cycle repeated continuously throughout the game as Syracuse struggled to maintain possession in Duke’s defensive half and the Blue Devils outshot the Orange 24-3.“We were a little bit frantic at times,” Wheddon said about SU building out from the back. “A few too many turnovers, and then you’re right back defending again. We need to be better on the ball, we need to move the ball a little quicker and with confidence.”Wheddon praised SU’s performance in the first 30 minutes, but two quick goals from Duke before halftime erased the Orange’s hopes of an upset victory.center_img With 11 minutes remaining in the first half, SU defender Taylor Bennett made two slide tackles in her own penalty area — both of which led to penalty claims from the Blue Devils — before Marykate McGuire skipped past a lunging Bennett to find Taylor Racioppi for Duke’s first goal.“It’s just a lack of focus,” Wheddon said.SU’s lack of urgency and slopiness in defense was not apparent throughout the whole game, but small doses of it led to trouble. With 32 minutes remaining, and the Orange already down by three goals, Bennett’s cross-field pass to Shannon Aviza was too strong. The ball got away from her and Duke’s Tess Boade swiped it, earning a corner kick on the other end.“We knew they were going to press us,” SU goalkeeper Lysianne Proulx said. “We tried to stay calm and get it out the back. Play long. I mean, obviously you could see we tried to play around (them).”After earning a second corner kick off the first one, the Blue Devils played a short pass that led to a cross into the penalty area. Duke defender Taylor Mitchell chested it into the ground and wide of the goal. As six SU defenders in the left-hand side of the box stood still, Mitchell chased down the ball and kept it inbounds before winning another corner kick, one of the visitor’s 12 in the game.Eleven minutes later, Duke forward Kayla McCoy, who caused problems all afternoon and is a “really good player,” Tivnan said, sunk the Orange into an even deeper hole. On another Duke corner kick, Bennett turned her back to McCoy, who snuck toward the near post to easily redirect Karlie Paschall’s cross into the back of the net. Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more