Syracuse may have found the combination for ‘clean’ penalty corners

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 24, 2019 at 11:14 pm Contact Danny: | @DannyEmerman Sophomore midfielder SJ Quigley leapt through the air and yelled. She had just initiated Syracuse’s second penalty corner goal of the game by inserting a clean pass that became a Charlotte de Vries score.De Vries’ score against Colgate capped off arguably the peak of Syracuse’s penalty corner success this season. Throughout the season, SU has experimented with different inserters, stoppers and shooters to mixed success.Last Sunday, the Orange scored on two of their six penalty corner chances, matching a season-high in goals off corners. But stretches of inconsistency — like a 2-for-25 stretch after its first game of the year — have plagued Syracuse’s success.After weeks of tinkering with personnel and stylistic options on penalty corners, head coach Ange Bradley and Syracuse (6-2, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) may have found a solution for its penalty corners entering its biggest test of the season so far against No. 2 Duke on Friday. The Orange have had the most success when Quigley inserts the ball, and either Laura Graziosi or Tess Queen stops it to make a play for themselves or a teammate, like de Vries. With a more refined penalty corner strategy, SU has a better shot at turning the games it has “statistically dominated,” as Bradley likes to say, into victories.“Little things make big things for or against you,” Bradley said of SU’s previous penalty corner struggles.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textTeams earn penalty corners — often the best scoring chances — by drawing a foul inside the shooting circle, and after a whistle, the clock stops as the defending team puts on goggles for protection and lines up on their goal line. The offensive players simultaneously line up along the edge of the shooting circle and await an entry pass from the end line.For the Orange, an inability to convert on corners has plagued them at times in 2019. In total, SU has scored 12 goals on 53 penalty corner chances (22.6%).In the past, Syracuse leaned on three-time All-American back Roos Weers to finish penalty corner plays. Her powerful drag flick gave SU a consistent, effective option. But now that Weers has graduated, the Orange have had to “find different ways to put the ball in the net,” Graziosi said.In addition to settling the ball to a shooter, Syracuse has mixed in plays where the stopper pops out of her crouch and shoots directly. In overtime against then-No. 14 Saint Joseph’s on Sept. 13, Graziosi did just that. After stopping the insert, Graziosi read that the defense converged on de Vries and other shooting options, so she launched a shot on net, catching the defense off guard and winning Syracuse the game.Before Syracuse’s win on Sunday, Bradley said the team adjusted on their previously “sloppy” penalty corners by watching film. The team typically does most of their film review on their own time, but Syracuse had a team-wide video session to workshop penalty corners last Saturday to “clean some of those things up,” Bradley said.Karleigh Merritt-Henry | Digital Design EditorEarly in the season, Quigley, de Vries and junior Carolin Hoffmann each acted as inserters. But now, Quigley has become Syracuse’s go-to. When Quigley inserts the ball into play on a corner, she keeps a low center of gravity and slides her stick across the turf, sweeping the ball smoothly so it stays calm. A bouncing pass makes the stopper’s job much more difficult. During a 0-for-11 corner stretch against Cornell, Quigley was the primary initiator, but Graziosi struggled as the stopper, often misplaying Quigley’s entry passes. After the loss, Bradley said that SU needed to “get consistency” on corners. Since then, Queen has rotated with Graziosi — both midfielders — as the stopper.As Quigley, Queen and Graziosi have developed a rhythm, SU has been able to introduce some creativity and set up plays for their strongest shooters: Hoffmann and de Vries. In the third quarter against Colgate, Quigley inserted it to Queen, who settled it to Graziosi. With the ball, Graziosi faked a shot and let the ball roll to midfielder Stephanie Harris for an open shot on net. Though her shot went wide, the play was indicative of Syracuse’s increasing variation on corners.“Penalty corners have to be really technical and you need to have good timing,” midfielder Claire Cooke said. “It has to be so precise.”Asst. copy editor Andrew Crane contributed reporting Commentslast_img read more