Holloway gives Syracuse strong defensive effort in win against Tar Heels
Iona Holloway’s attention never seemed to waver.
Against North Carolina’s impressive forwards, Holloway rarely missed her mark for all 76 minutes she was in the game. She gave Syracuse (3-0) a constant defensive presence in its 1-0 overtime win over the Tar Heels (2-0) Saturday. SU defeated its highest-ranked opponent since it took down No. 1 Maryland 2-1 back in 2008.
Also with the win Saturday, the Orange extended its winning streak at home to 30 games, dating back to Sept. 6, 2009.
From the start of the game through overtime, Holloway had a clear plan. In the end, she executed it to near perfection.
“What we tried to do was tackle as much as we could outside of the circle because UNC are notorious for their corners and they score them very well,” Holloway said. “We were trying to force them out of the circle, tackle them outside and make sure we didn’t give away too many corners.”
The corner count did stay low as the scoreless first half ended with each team having seven shots and North Carolina holding a 3-2 corner advantage.
“We have to completely respect the UNC forwards,” Holloway said. “They’re incredible. They have a lot of players that play in the national team.”
Throughout the second half, the action moved back and forth across the field. Whenever the ball moved near Syracuse’s net, Holloway was ready to attack.
“She’s so fast, she’s so fit, she’s an incredible hockey player and she has such a tough mind set.”
Ange Bradley, SU head coach
“That’s kind of my role, sweeping up all the mess in the back,” she said.
In the final two minutes of regulation, the Orange faced pressure and fought a battle just outside of the attacking circle. Holloway and the defensive effort successfully held off the Tar Heels long enough to send the close game into overtime.
Fatigue never took its toll on Holloway and she was a defensive force right into extra time, also. She was one of only three Syracuse players to play the entire game.
“Her level of fitness is just second to none,” head coach Ange Bradley said. “She’s so fast, she’s so fit, she’s an incredible hockey player and she has such a tough mind set.”
After returning from a green card penalty in overtime, Holloway contributed to the advance that led to Emma Russell’s game-winning goal at 75:57.
“It wasn’t our best goal but I think it was the one that meant the most,” said Russell, who notched her second collegiate goal and her first at a home game.
Syracuse also got staunch defensive efforts from Laura Hahnefeldt and Leann Stiver in goal. Stiver made six saves to notch her 14th career shutout and secure the winning streak at home.
“We’ve not lost here since my freshman year and it’s just incredible to continue a winning streak like that against number two in the country,” said Holloway.
“According to everyone else, we were supposed to lose this game and just to win it and on our home field is the best feeling ever.”
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