FH : SU defense stifles Monmouth in victory to open season

first_img Comments Thanks to the blitzing athleticism of the Syracuse field hockey team, head coach Ange Bradley sees her defense play as an inherently contradictory game.Bradley’s Orange has — and always will — attack ruthlessly while attempting to maintain a four-player ‘diamond’ defensive form at the back. In collegiate field hockey, it is the ultimate line to tiptoe, especially for a speed team like SU.‘It was our athleticism that won the game for us today,’ Bradley said. ‘Not our smarts.’Saturday’s 4-0 shutout win over Monmouth was no exception. The season opener was the first example of defensive duality that proves both effective and potentially deadly. Even if the Orange accomplished the ultimate goal of a shutout over the Hawks, Syracuse pushed forward with a bit too much gusto.It’s something that might prove costly against a better team.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘We just got greedy,’ Bradley said. ‘Everyone is trying to move into the attack and not have the discipline and structure to let the ball do the work. They did a lot of straight ahead running, and that closes down angles instead of opening angles to score.’Saturday, SU was greedy time and time again. And Bradley felt her team let greed and athleticism get the best of them. It led to the diminution of the team’s defensive intelligence.At the rear of the Syracuse defense, junior back Amy Kee is the ‘voice.’ Saturday, Kee steered a talented SU defense to the 4-0 shutout victory. Monmouth registered only three shots during game — 30 fewer than SU.Statistically, the Orange defense played well. But Kee knows otherwise.‘The defense did do well,’ Kee said. ‘However, they didn’t take their opportunities as say teams we’re going to come up against in the next few weeks will do. So I think we’ve got to keep working on it.’Kee and her fellow starting defenders, Iona Holloway and Laura Hahnefeldt, combined to take 14 of the team’s 33 total shots.As too many defenders pushed forward, the diamond in the back was left exposed. It turned into a four-player shape with gaps. Monmouth physically wasn’t able to take advantage of those, but No. 2 North Carolina and other teams on SU’s schedule will.‘The press did not work well today,’ said Martina Loncarica, a senior midfielder. ‘That’s something we just have to keep working, studying and get it down right.’Bradley has bestowed Kee with the difficult task of verbally and physically keeping SU’s defensive form. She is Bradley’s on-field captain, and even with her one goal and ten shots Saturday, she didn’t complete her job defensively.‘We were trying to keep (our defensive form) a little bit more instead of letting everybody forward because then we leave less opposing players in behind us,’ Kee said.Junior back Iona Holloway is perhaps the prime example of the SU defense’s dual role duty. The junior is technically listed as a back, but regularly moves between the Orange defense and its forward attack, as she has taken on more of an offensive role this year.Saturday, Holloway was carried off the turf with 13 minutes remaining in the game. It was perhaps part of the reason for the defensive lapses.From then on, all the way through Bradley’s postgame lecture, Holloway sat idle on the SU bench. Bradley said Holloway’s injury was heat exhaustion-related.Though athleticism will promote defensive attacking for SU this year, the midfield and defense must maintain better shape and maturity rather than slipping into freeform blitzing.‘Keeping disciplined is something we need to improve, but it was a shutout,’ Kee [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on August 28, 2011 at 12:00 pmlast_img

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