first_img Comments jakrakow@syr.edu Facebook Twitter Google+ Fewer than 10 minutes into the second game of the season, the Syracuse field hockey team had a commanding 2-0 lead over visiting Northeastern. After two quick goals, the No. 8 Orange seemed poised to coast to another easy victory. But for senior forward Kristin Girouard and the entire SU team, it wasn’t enough. It’s never enough. After Northeastern closed the gap to one, SU didn’t panic. An offensive break led to a penalty corner and gave the Orange an opportunity to bust the game open. A scramble in front following senior back Maggie Befort’s pass gave Girouard her chance, and she responded, slamming home a goal just more than one minute before halftime. That tally propelled the Orange (2-0) into halftime, and its persistent attack throughout led to a 4-1 win over the Huskies (0-2) in front of a crowd of 424 at J.S. Coyne Stadium on Sunday. ‘It was a great day and everyone worked hard, but we have a lot that we need to improve upon,’ Girouard said. ‘I’m never really satisfied with how I’m playing. I think that’s the cool thing about our team, that we always keep working hard and we expect a lot from ourselves and from each other.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Expectations were high from the opening whistle on Sunday, and senior forward Shelby Schraden tallied the game’s first goal seven minutes in after a few quick passes in front of the net. True to its style, SU was aggressive immediately after the goal, forcing a penalty corner and a second straight scoring chance. After two saves from the Northeastern goalkeeper, junior forward Heather Susek slipped one into the net on a pass from Girouard. Girouard’s goal later made the score 3-1, and the outstanding work from head coach Ange Bradley’s experienced starters helped carry the momentum into the second half. ‘With this team, it’s like training a professional group instead of a first-year team,’ said Bradley, who now has a career record of 54-13 at Syracuse. ‘They assured me today that they’re going to take care of things, and I’m proud of the way that they stepped up.’ The Orange kept up the intensity throughout the second half, protecting their lead while searching for new scoring chances. With a little more than two minutes remaining, SU’s hustle forced another penalty corner, the team’s ninth of the match. Befort slid a pass through the middle to junior midfielder Martina Loncarica, who set up sophomore back Amy Kee for a blistering shot that deflected past the keeper for SU’s final goal. The set piece conversions demonstrated SU’s fast-paced mentality. Continued pressure led to potential corners and scoring chances.  Senior forward Lindsey Conrad was the personification of this relentless approach, as it was her aggressiveness around the net that sparked nearly all of SU’s best opportunities. ‘Our overall team mentality is to attack and to keep the corners coming and the goals coming, so everyone knows their role and what our game plan is,’ said Conrad. ‘It’s really important that we keep the attitude that we want to win and we want to score goals.’ Though the offense’s pressure tilted ball control in SU’s favor, the defense rose to the occasion as well, surrendering a few turnovers but ultimately allowing only seven shots. Sophomore goalkeeper Leann Stiver made four saves on five shots on goal, including a big save on a Northeastern set piece a minute into the second half. This marks the second straight game that SU has been tough on defense, as the Orange outshot Northwestern 33-2 in a 6-1 victory on Friday. Syracuse’s two wins to start the season is exactly the start it needed with 11 of its next 12 games on the road. Bradley isn’t concerned about the road swing, as the team’s frame of mind is in the right place with two dominating home victories. ‘It’s been really good for our morale to go 2-0. That was our goal for the weekend,’ Bradley said. ‘I think it just comes down to motivation and sheer will. It wasn’t the prettiest game today, but the will of these seniors and these kids knows nothing else. They’ve accomplished so much over three years and they’re committed to getting a result.’ Published on August 29, 2010 at 12:00 pmlast_img read more

first_imgAfter the University of Wisconsin Badgers football team beat Michigan last weekend, they found themselves ranked No. 8 in the AP Poll the following day.Wisconsin fans know all too well the inconsistencies of the poll and its tendency to undervalue the Big Ten as a whole —  specifically the Badgers — seemingly every year.This inconsistency is based around the preseason poll, as writers from around the country construct a top 25 without seeing the teams play, and then require massive victories or surprising losses before they move a team far from their preseason rankings.The preseason poll is also often based around performances from the previous year, and not the current talent level of the teams.Football: Previewing Big Ten West before major conference gamesThe University of Wisconsin football team (3-0) has looked like a complete team through their first few games of 2019. Read…The most prominent example of this has been seen this year with Head Coach Paul Chryst’s Badgers.Chryst’s team came into 2018 after a stellar 2017 season in which they finished 13-1 and fell one drive away from a birth in the College Football Playoff.They began the year ranked No. 4 in the nation despite losing much of their defensive talent from the previous year.Wisconsin then won in week one and dropped to No. 5, won in week two and dropped to No. 6 and narrowly lost in week three and dropped to No. 18. This movement makes sense in the context of last year: The team won their first two weeks against poor teams but didn’t look dominant doing so, and then went on to lose to an unranked BYU in week three.The Badgers dropped out of the rankings after week nine and ended the season ranked outside of the top 25.Football: Return of Cephus brings vitality to Badger air attackBefore the 2019 season began, Badger fans knew little of what they could expect from newly reinstated junior wide receiver Read…After a disappointing 2018 season, Chryst returned his defensive core and injured players and entered the season undoubtedly with a far more talented offense and a better quarterback under center.Fairly, the AP Poll had the Badgers ranked No. 19 entering the year.What has happened during the first four weeks of the year has shown the AP Poll’s inability to forget its preseason rankings and actually evaluate the teams based on their performances during the present season.The Badgers opened the season with a 49–0 victory on the road against South Florida.The win was an impressive one and saw the Badgers look dominant on both sides of the ball. Nearly all of their preseason questions were answered this game, including whether Jack Coan could effectively lead the team, if the new offensive line would hold up and how the defense would perform without T.J. Edwards, Ryan Connelly and D’Cota Dixon.Despite the dominant performance, the Badgers moved up only two spots. Two spots. And they were still ranked below Oregon, a team who lost week one.Football: How Jonathan Taylor can take down Heisman favoritesWhen Jonathon Taylor burst onto the scene back in 2017, it was immediately clear he was the new face of Read…Had the “original” rankings come out after the first week of the season, which is what should happen, the Badgers would have been ranked at least in the top 12 and close to the top 10.Joel Klatt—a college football analyst for Fox Sports—agrees. In back-to-back tweets last week, Klatt mentioned two major grievances with the AP Poll.First, Klatt said that preseason polls suck because teams that don’t deserve to be in the top five, like Clemson, still find themselves there after four weeks because of preconceived bias.He followed this tweet up just a day later stating that without the preseason polls, Wisconsin might be a top 3-5 team in the rankings right now based simply on the “eye test.”Nevertheless, Chryst’s team followed up their shutout victory week one with another shutout, this one 61–0 against Central Michigan. Over two weeks, the Badgers had outscored their opponents 110-0, their best point differential through two games since 1915. How far did they move up after another dominant performance? Three spots, to No. 14.They still sat behind Texas, who lost that week, and Michigan, who needed overtime to beat Army.Week four came around and the No. 13 Badgers throttled No. 11 Michigan 35–14, and only moved up to No. 8.Football: The meteoric rise of Badgers quarterback Jack CoanThe rise of quarterback Jack Coan was a fast one and has Wisconsin Badger fans expecting big things from their Read…Through three games the Badgers have outscored their opponents 145–14 and now, in the words of the national media, have finally played somebody good.After ranking the Badgers No. 19 to start the season, the AP writers have been hesitant to move them above other teams in the rankings, despite the Badgers looking like one of the most dominant teams in the country.This year can’t be the only time the AP undervalued the Badgers in the preseason, right?After searching the AP Poll records dating back to 2004, history shows that since that year, the Badgers have ended the season with a ranking higher than their preseason ranking in ten of 15 years, including going from unranked at the beginning of the season to ranked at the end of the season on four different occasions.In order for the AP poll to improve its authority, they must do two things. First, release the first poll after the first week of games, not in the preseason. Second, evaluate teams based on their performance, not whether they’re in the Southeastern Conference with the likes of Alabama.If the AP can change their system in these ways, the Big Ten and the Wisconsin Badgers will start getting the national respect they deserve.last_img read more