Syracuse advance to ACC semi-final after 5-1 win over Duke

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Due to bad weather Thursday afternoon, the Syracuse ACC quarterfinal was delayed by an hour and a half. But the Orange wasted no time after the first whistle. SU got their first penalty corner less than thirty seconds after the start of the first quarter. Eight seconds later, Eefke van den Nieuwenhof launched a shot from the top of the shooting circle that went straight to the lower left corner of Piper Hampsch’s goal. Hampsch made the save, but couldn’t stop the ball from bouncing into the path of SJ Quigley, who kicked the ball over the goal line.

The Orange scored two more goals in the first quarter thanks to Willemijn Boogert and Hailey Bitters to enter the second quarter with a 3-0 lead.

“I expected us to come out strong,” Nieuwenhof said. “The whole schedule changed but we were ready all day (and) I think it really showed in the opening minutes of the game.”

Syracuse’s three goals (13-4, 4-2 on the Atlantic coast) in the first quarter propelled him to a 5-1 victory over Duke (6-11, 0-6 on the Atlantic coast) in the quarter-finals from ACC at JS Coyne Stadium. Against the Blue Devils, Orange took advantage of all his scoring opportunities. Four of SU’s five goals come from penalty corners, with Nieuwenhof having the main option for direct shots in these games. Nieuwenhof shone in all four frames and ended the game with two goals and one assist.

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“Eefke played very well. She was in control, was a quarterback for our field (and) our pace of play, ”said head coach Ange Bradley. “When she hits the ball well, it’s very difficult to stop.”

With a win over Duke, the Orange advanced to the ACC semi-final and will face No.3 North Carolina on Friday at 3:30 p.m. Syracuse beat North Carolina 5-0 in the regular season on October 1.

“We have to regroup and prepare for tomorrow because it’s the semi-finals and it won’t be easy,” said Nieuwenhof. “If we play as well as today, I have a lot of faith tomorrow.”

After Quigley opened the scoring, SU continued to press high on the field. Florine van Boetzelaer received a green card in the fourth minute of the first quarter, but SU did not concede any ground in the two minutes playing with a disadvantaged player.

Syracuse’s aggressive offensive efforts saw Boogert find the net halfway through the first quarter on another penalty corner. Quigley sent the ball to Claire Cooke, who prepared the ball for Nieuwenhof to shoot straight on goal. Nieuwenhof shot the ball at the target, but Boogert placed his stick in the middle of the shooting circle to lift the ball over Hampsch, who had already planted to the ground after diving to her right. The SU and Duke players watched Boogert’s stick throw the ball into the air as he looped through the

Bitters extended the Orange’s lead three minutes later after Charlotte de Vries placed them with the assist. De Vries recovered an uncontrolled pass from Duke down the halfway line and dribbled into space before aligning the ball with Bitters’ trajectory who fired a low one-touch shot past Hampsch. At the start of the second quarter, SU was already leading by a margin of three goals.

“It prepares our team quite well,” Bradley said of how his team’s performance in the first quarter impacted the rest of the game. “You can really just move the ball around and you choose when you go forward.”

Syracuse has taken an approach centered on possessing the remaining three quarters. While this ultimately helped SU take out the Blue Devils, it also produced a defensive gap that put Duke on the scoreboard in the second quarter. Duke’s Hannah Miller broke through the right flank to pass three Syracuse defenders before finding herself open and unmarked in the shooting circle a few yards to the right of Brooke Borzymowski’s net. Miller fired a shot in the upper right corner of the goal past Borzymowski’s rising left shoulder.

“It was a good offense and she scored from a difficult angle so I have to give that to her,” Nieuwenhof said of Miller’s goal. “We lost him for a few seconds and they punished us.”

But SU restored their three-goal lead just two minutes later when Nieuwenhof scored his first goal of the game. Again, Quigley inserted. But instead of switching to a player who would prepare Nieuwenhof for a shot, Quigley went straight to Nieuwenhof. It caught the Blue Devils’ defensive unit off guard and allowed the Dutchwoman to step forward and create her own shot. Nieuwenhof shot straight at Hampsch and watched the ball bounce off Duke’s keeper left leg before crossing the goal line.

Duke’s best play in trying to start forming a comeback came early in the third quarter when the Blue Devils earned three consecutive penalty corners in a single minute. But Duke couldn’t break the defensive SU corner unit.

“We are (a) very good corner defensive unit,” said Nieuwenhof. “We stayed together, we took them out.”

A rambling, possession-based second half saw Nieuwenhof’s only scoring play come from a penalty corner with just five seconds left in the quarter. The center-back scored after her shot rebounded from a Hampsch plunging into the back of the net.

“We’ve been working on (the penalty corners) all season and today… all the pieces of the puzzle came together,” said Nieuwenhof. “The insert (s) (were) correct, the stop (s) (were) correct and we were able to finish. “

Contact Bryan: [email protected]


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