Mock, Glanell cause turnovers, create scoring opportunities for Syracuse
Margaret Lin | Photo Editor
The first thing that comes to mind about this Syracuse team is its high-flying attack.
But the Orange’s ability to cause turnovers and win ground balls on defense is equally vital to its success.
The Orange ranks second in the country with more than 16 goals per game, second to only top-ranked North Carolina. When it comes to scoring defense, though, the third-ranked Orange only allows the 18th-fewest number of goals per contest.
But it’s the ability of defenders Kasey Mock and Natalie Glanell to cause turnovers and win ground balls that allows the Orange to have so many scoring opportunities.
“I think they’ve improved dramatically and are All-American-type defenders,” said SU head coach Gary Gait. “Their caused turnovers are key to getting multiple possessions on the offensive end.”
Although the seniors are two of the best in the country at what they do, Glanell pointed out how causing turnovers and recovering ground balls is hardly a reflection of a defender’s individual ability.
After all, there aren’t many instances when a defender gets beat or misses a ground ball and there isn’t a teammate there to back them up.
“We may get that caused turnover stat,” Glanell said. “But I wouldn’t have been able to make it if Kasey wasn’t there standing next to (the opponent).”
“Everything we do contributes to the other person getting that stat.”
Mock has been a nuisance to opponents on the defensive end, leading the team with 19 caused turnovers and 22 ground balls. Glanell is tied for second in caused turnovers (11) and tied for third in ground balls (18).
Even though the Orange doesn’t rank on top the nation in scoring defense, it’s performances like Saturday’s win against Virginia Tech has Syracuse believing it can shut down anyone.
After allowing only four goals against the Hokies, the Orange has held eight of its 13 opponents to single-digit scoring totals. Even though Mock and Glanell lead the Orange statistically-speaking, Gait said it requires the same effort from not only those two, but also the other six members of the unit.
“It’s all team effort,” Gait said. “Our defense truly focuses on all eight players playing defense and making plays.”
Mock and Glanell are paramount to the team’s success on the defensive end, but similar to Gait, Mock gave all the credit to the style of defense the team plays rather than her individual tendencies.
“Ever since we were freshmen, we’ve played defense in a very team-oriented way,” Mock said. “If you could box out for your teammate to get a ground ball, we cherish those things more than checking how many caused turnovers we each have.”
Even though Mock and Glanell put the overall defensive achievements before their own, their individual contributions are vital to the team’s success.
In the two games in which Syracuse has caused the most turnovers, either Mock or Glanell has led or tied for most caused turnovers.
Similarly, it’s been those two that rose to the occasion in games in which the Orange dominated on ground balls.
And when Syracuse faces North Carolina — the only team in the nation averaging more goals than SU — on Saturday, the Orange will need its two senior defensive leaders to step up once again.
“They’re a huge part of it,” Gait said. “We’re going to look for them to have another big game this weekend.”
Published on April 9, 2014 at 1:18 am