In Wheddon’s 3rd season, Orange finding early success

first_img Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Amanda Morris has been on teams before that haven’t found the type of early-season success this team has. But to the third-year forward, this season’s success for the Syracuse women’s soccer team has been a long time coming. ‘A lot of training and hard work,’ Morris said. ‘Everyone’s just very confident in what we’re doing now. And that confidence is a big thing. It’s very important when you want to become a better team.’ After two subpar seasons under head coach Phil Wheddon, Syracuse is now starting to see the results of that training and hard work. Now riding a four-game unbeaten streak, the Orange hasn’t lost a game since falling to then-No. 4 Portland on Sept. 5 and hasn’t lost at home all season. Since its most recent loss, SU has scored nine goals in those four games and looks to be competitive in the Big East. Now sitting at 4-3-3, Syracuse is just one victory away from equaling its win total from last year, and the Big East doesn’t look quite as scary. This time last season, SU was a .500 team that had played nine matches on the road before coming home. The Orange was coming off a loss to St. Joseph’s and was preparing for what looked like a very daunting Big East schedule.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text It has taken two comeback efforts to keep the home winning streak alive. Against Colgate on Aug. 29, Brielle Heitman scored two second-half goals to carry what was then a team struggling mightily to score to a 2-1 victory. With 50 seconds left in regulation against Albany on Sept. 10, Tina Romagnuolo netted the closest soccer equivalent to a walk-off when her team was tied 2-2 in the 90th minute. ‘We have to be better,’ Wheddon said following the win over Colgate. ‘But for our players to show the resilience they did and to battle through and score … I’m very proud of them.’ The Orange now has 13 goals through 10 games this season. That equals the offensive output of all 19 games last season. ‘I think with any team, you’re comfortable being at home’ senior forward Megan Bellingham said. ‘You know the field, you know the pitch. But it’s also nice to play in front of your home crowd. And you don’t have all the traveling factors.’ For the first time since 2004, three players have scored three goals in a season. Brielle Heitman with four, Tina Romagnuolo and Bellingham. However, it took an 82nd minute ricochet, follow-up goal from Patricia Lind at Yale on Sunday to avoid a loss and preserve overtime. As a team looking to become more possession-oriented, coming from behind, especially coming from behind on the road, is not a trend SU wants to fall into. ‘While our players are disappointed with the tie, we exerted a lot of energy on Friday (against St. John’s),’ Wheddon said. ‘I’m proud of our effort and work rate on a hot day and on a turf field, which created some problems for us.’ Syracuse, which played its final non-conference game of the season against Yale, returns to action Thursday at Providence before hosting Connecticut on Sunday. Syracuse has beaten Providence three of the last four times the teams have played, and Thursday should set the tone for what will still be another challenging road schedule. Outside of a long trip to Washington, SU hasn’t had to travel much outside of New York this year. Taking advantage of an early schedule that has featured five teams in the area (Lehigh, Colgate, Albany, Binghamton and St. John’s), SU has been able to fall into a groove much earlier. If the Orange is going to win on the road in the Big East this season, junior defender Taylor Chamberlain knows it will take a shift in mindset. ‘I think it’s just going to take a lot of focus,’ Chamberlin said. ‘When you’re at home, you can sleep in your own bed. When you’re away, you have the bus. It’s just going to take focus and determination to come out hard and play the way we should be playing.’ [email protected]center_img Published on September 21, 2010 at 12:00 pmlast_img

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