No. 11 Syracuse’s goalie switch helps rectify first-half mistakes in 12-11 overtime win against No. 15 Virginia Tech
Sabrina Koenig | Staff Photographer
Syracuse needed a change. The Orange had played poorly in the first half against Virginia Tech, committing 13 turnovers — including four just on the clear — and was down by two.
That change came in the form of sophomore goalie Bri Stahrr. She’d only played more than 15 minutes once this season, a career-best performance against Florida on March 14. With Asa Goldstock, SU’s starting goalie, struggling, the job belonged to Stahrr.
“I was trying to get a different flow,” head coach Gary Gait said. “Asa’s been playing okay but not great and I just wanted to give Bri a chance to see if she could step up and make some big saves.”
No. 11 Syracuse (11-4, 4-1 Atlantic Coast) won, 12-11 in overtime, defeating the No. 15 Hokies (11-5, 2-3) in SU’s one outdoor home game held at SU Soccer Stadium. After a sloppy first half, SU’s defense tightened up and Stahrr provided the necessary improvement.
Goldstock had five saves and allowed six goals in the first half. To jumpstart the team, Gait decided to make the switch. Stahrr knew to be ready.
“What (associate head coach) Regy (Thorpe) always tells all the goalies,” Stahrr said, “is to prepare for every game like you are going to start.”
One minute into the second half, VT’s Emma Harden, off an assist by Taylor Caskey, fired the ball past Stahrr. After that, she settled in.
In the middle of the second half, with the score tied at eight, Caskey launched the ball toward the net but it was deflected off Stahrr’s stick. Caskey snagged the ground ball and the Hokies maintained possession. It went to Emma Harden. Stahrr used her stick to deflect Harden’s shot, too. This time, Kristine Loscalzo got the ground ball and VT was in control again.
A free position shot by Marissa Davey went wide. As the Hokies Isabel Obregon brought the ball back close to the net, Stahrr knocked it out of Obregon’s stick and scooped the ground ball.
“I think I played alright,” Stahrr said, who ended with four saves and five goals allowed. “There were definitely one or two I could’ve saved but a win’s a win I guess.”
Stahrr’s solid play made up for the first-half issues. Almost five minutes into regulation, Riley Donahue had the ball knocked out of her stick by VT midfielder Mary Claire Byrne. After briefly getting the ball back, SU turned it over again. VT took the ball to the net and got on the board.
“Really limiting the turnovers,” Gait said about what the second-half difference was. “Thirteen turnovers in a half is a lot.”
SU couldn’t get the ball out of its defensive zone. Midway through the first half Mia DiBello, passed the ball to Neena Merola after causing a turnover. Merola attempted a pass, but hurled the ball out of bounds. SU earned a delay of game and a green card and possession went to Virginia Tech. It was just one of the many avoidable miscues the Orange had.
The second half showed more success. SU’s 88 percent clear success rate and six total turnovers helped the Orange overcome a two-point deficit at the half to win by one in overtime, 12-11.
“We got a little flustered in the first half,” Emily Hawryschuk said. “We forced a little bit too much, I think thirteen turnovers at half, so we just settled it down, took a deep breath and looked for the right looks, the cutters and it all just fell into place.”
Published on April 9, 2017 at 8:09 pm
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