Russell’s overtime goal propels Syracuse to 1-0 upset win over North Carolina
The Syracuse sideline rushed the field and formed a celebratory dog pile after midfielder Emma Russell scored off a penalty corner six minutes into overtime.
Players shared hugs during the chaotic moment in a signature win for the program.
“This is not a national championship. It’s not even close,” SU head coach Ange Bradley said. “But it’s a defining moment for our growth as a program and as a team.”
The No. 7 Orange (3-0) made a resounding statement with its 1-0 overtime upset of No. 2 North Carolina (2-1) Saturday at J.S. Coyne Stadium. The win extended the team’s winning streak at Coyne to 30 games. It also gave SU an impressive win over a team that was the national runner-up a season ago.
Bradley has built the Orange into one of the Big East’s best during her tenure, but the team is still trying to establish itself among the nation’s elite. The win Saturday shows the program has what it takes to make deep runs in postseason play.
The Syracuse and North Carolina offenses both had opportunities throughout regulation – the Orange attempted 14 shots while the Tar Heels took 16 – but neither team capitalized.
Then Russell scored in overtime off an assist by Leonie Geyer, and the celebration ensued.
“I actually couldn’t believe it went in,” Russell said. “It was an unbelievable feeling. Everyone just went insane.”
The Orange used a stingy performance by its defense to set up the win, shutting down North Carolina’s top two playmakers in Kelsey Kolojejchick and Jaclyn Gaudioso Radvany.
Kolojejchick scored two goals in the Tar Heels’ 3-2 victory over the Orange last September and Gaudioso Radvany was named the Atlantic Coastal Conference’s Player of the Week Tuesday. The pair of seniors managed just two shots each.
“This is not a national championship. It’s not even close. But it’s a defining moment for our growth as a program and as a team.”
Ange Bradley, SU head coach
Gaudioso Radvany had a good look at the net 15 minutes into the game, but SU goalkeeper Leann Stiver made her first of six saves.
Late in the second half, senior Iona Holloway had North Carolina’s offensive front on lockdown. The senior constantly stripped the opponent of possessions and was seemingly always there to break up passes.
“She was just awesome,” Bradley said. “She’s just an incredible hockey player. Her will is so strong.”
Holloway received a green card two minutes into overtime, but the defense didn’t miss a beat.
Laura Hahnefeldt broke up a pass when Kolojejchick got past her defender and the defensive unit hung tough on a North Carolina penalty corner, preserving the shutout.
Holloway returned in overtime and immediately made a difference. She came up with a loose ball, pushed it across midfield and drew the penalty corner that Russell scored on.
“We were trying to force them out of the circle and make sure we didn’t give away too many corners,” she said. “We had to respect the UNC forwards, they’re incredible. Our defenders and midfielders did a great job of pressuring the ball.”
Bradley said her team studied extremely hard in preparation for the game and executed the game plan to put SU in position to win.
“We worked really hard – from the kids who played no minutes to the kids who played every minute,” she said. “They were really good students all week.”
Bradley said she was proud of her team’s effort and praised the seniors for instilling a tough work ethic throughout the team. Before Saturday, she said, the seniors had yet to win a game they weren’t supposed to win.
“I can’t even tell you how happy I am for our kids and our program,” she said.
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