Moranz makes late save to preserve Syracuse’s tie with Connecticut

first_img Related Stories Koval sparks Syracuse with equalizing goal, energy off the bench in 1-1 tie against UConn Phil Wheddon counts on his goalies to make one big save per game. With less than three minutes remaining in double overtime Monday, Mackenzie Moranz made that save.Connecticut’s Danielle Gottwik stood with the ball at her feet and a chance to end the game on her next move.Moranz dived to her left. Moranz extended her left arm, barely getting a piece of the ball to deflect it away and sending the Syracuse fans into a frenzy.“I knew I had to make that save at that time, so I just did it,”Moranz said.Syracuse (1-1-2) tied Connecticut (2-1-1) 1-1 in front of 815 fans after playing two overtime periods and 110 minutes on a sun-soaked Monday afternoon at SU Soccer Stadium. SU’s chunks of possession were ended by ill-advised passes in the offensive third that led to Connecticut’s offensive attacks, which were snuffed out by the Orange’s defense to keep the game knotted.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I’m disappointed in a tie,”Syracuse head coach Phil Wheddon said. “I thought that we could have, and probably should have, won the game.”Throughout the game, the Orange’s energy level fluctuated in the mid-80 degree heat. At times, SU peppered the Connecticut defense with consecutive passes that helped create threatening chances. At others, Syracuse struggled to clear the ball out in its own defensive end.In the first 10 minutes of the game, the ball remained mostly on Connecticut’s side of the field. Alex Lamontagne, Eva Gordon and Jackie Firenze strung passes together, but couldn’t finish the plays with goals.After holding off the Orange, Gottwik dribbled through the middle of the field and took a hard touch to her left, pushing the ball past Maddie Damm. With space atop of the 18-yard box, Gottwik’s shot found the back of the net. After 10 minutes of controlling the game, Syracuse found itself trailing 1-0.But the defensive lapse in transition, caused by an offensive turnover, did not overshadow an otherwise solid performance by the Orange.“We worked hard for 110 minutes,”Wheddon said. “Trying to make a more elaborate pass instead of just playing a simple pass, but all in all, I’m happy with our performance.”SU’s only goal came off a header by Alexis Koval, a substitute who entered the game in the 36th minute and scored about a minute later. Orange forwards Maya Pitts and Sheridan Street also came off the bench and helped jumpstart the offense.Junior forward Erin Simon said that Wheddon links the team’s energy with its communication. In overtime, when the circumstances were more urgent, the Orange picked up its interactions. After Moranz made the save of the game, Syracuse’s players yelled out while SU attempted to capitalize on a counter attack.Occasionally SU held onto the ball for too long, the head coach added. If players take fewer touches while in possession of the ball, the speed of play will likely increase, leading to fewer turnovers. Dribbling less and making smarter passes is something that Syracuse will be working on in the coming week, Wheddon said.“We caused problems for ourselves at times by loss of possession,”Wheddon said.Though the turnovers occurred too often, it meant that the Orange was at least creating opportunities on offense.Prior to Monday’s meeting, Syracuse was 1-18 all-time against UConn. The tie represents progress for SU, which has now only lost to the Huskies once in the past three seasons.“It just means we’re improving,”Simon said. “This is the best team we’ve had since I’ve been here …We just have to finish opportunities.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on September 1, 2014 at 7:38 pm Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschwedslast_img read more