Syracuse’s top-ranked offense fueled by scoring throughout the lineup

first_img Published on February 26, 2018 at 9:28 pm Contact Michael: mmcclear@syr.edu | @MikeJMcCleary Riley Donahue often brushes off opportunities to talk up her scoring abilities. Coming into the season, she was supposed to be a problem for opposing defenses. After Donahue led the Orange in goals a season ago, many expected 2018 to bring much of the same. But, in the preseason, all she could talk about was her team.“Offense is everywhere,” she said of her team more than two weeks prior to SU’s season-opening matchup against Connecticut.To this point, her team-first tendencies have proven to be right. Donahue, with three goals so far this season, ranks ninth on her team in scoring. But, the number is not a result of Donahue’s struggles.No. 7 Syracuse (3-0) continues to get scoring throughout its lineup to power its top-ranked offense. The Orange are tied with Vanderbilt with an NCAA-leading 19.67 goals per game. Many on Syracuse expect the scoring to be a common thread as the depth and constant substitutions by SU have consistently provided the opportunities for players to score.“We definitely are a threat,” attack Nicole Levy said. “We will have a long list of scorers.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Orange has had no trouble with scoring in the early going. In SU’s first three games of the season, the fewest number of players to score in a game was nine against Oregon. In Syracuse’s other two matchups — versus Connecticut and Albany — SU had 12 different goal scorers in each game.Syracuse’s diverse attack features many multi-goal scorers. Against the Huskies, the Orange had six players score two or more goals, with four of those players registering three or more goals in the game. The output was similar against Oregon, when Syracuse had six two-plus goal scorers and two three-plus goal scorers.That is in slight contrast to some of the Orange’s season opener last year. In the 2017 debut against eventual-national champion Boston College, SU only had four players score more than two goals with eight of its 18 total goals coming from two players.Levy cautioned that the high-scoring games won’t necessarily continue as Syracuse’s schedule becomes tougher, but she still thinks the Orange will get contributions from many different players.When asked if the high scoring numbers are a result of the multitude of lineups the Orange use, SU head coach Gary Gait grinned.“Yeah,” Gait quipped, “we play a lot of players.”But Gait doesn’t attribute the scoring to any new game plan. He instead has noticed that the attacking style of his midfielders is creating a more “balanced” scoring group.“I think we’re almost even for the first time in a long time,” Gait said “Our middies and attack are scoring almost at the same pace.”This year, the Orange has gotten 28 goals from its midfield compared to 31 from the attack. That’s 9.33 goals per game from the midfield. Comparatively, last season the Orange only got 4.81 goals per game from its midfield as three attacks dominated SU’s goals leaderboard.The midfielders are starting to notice the difference. With the quick lineup changes and free movement, it’s easier for midfielders to make it up and down the field, which creates for more opportunities, junior midfielder Neena Merola said.Freshman Sam Swart is seeing the opportunities early in her SU career, as well. Tied with three people for fifth on SU’s scoring list, the midfielder went as far to make a prediction that “everyone will evenly play, evenly score.” While it remains to be seen whether or not that will hold true, Gait seems to be keen on the idea of having midfielders contribute more to Syracuse’s offensive production.“We’ve been, in the past, attack-driven,” Gait said. “Now, I think the middies are really coming into their own and starting to step it up.”As SU’s scoring evolves, it’s finding the win column frequently. SU’s presumed scoring leader in the preseason, Donahue, isn’t dominating the way she did last year, but so far she hasn’t had to.She’s just glad to see her preseason prediction come full circle.“It’s great to see,” Donahue said. “It’s great to go out there and really put everything together.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

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Nyantakyi’s bombshell: FA to join in player selection

first_imgFA boss, Kwesi Nyantakyi, has stated categorically that Coach Kwasi Appiah’s decision to settle for only players who play regularly for their clubs would be tampered with under extreme circumstances.Nyantakyi dropped the bombshell in an interview with the Graphic Sports after the Glo-CAF Awards in Lagos last Friday, insisting that the status quo would be changed depending on the quality of the player(s) involved.“That rule will be tampered with with some exceptions in exceptional circumstances. It all depends on the calibre of the player involved, his experience and input when he plays for the Black Stars, then we can consider him,” he explained.He stressed that there was a difference between a player having a club and not playing regularly, and not having a club at all.“If you have a club and you don’t play, it is different from somebody who doesn’t have a club at all; that makes it difficult, and in that case the coach has to explain why.”He made particular reference to the former Stars skipper, John Mensah, who had featured prominently in recent debates regarding his quality vis-a-vis the team’s defensive problems, describing him as an asset to the nation in his active days. “John Mensah is a very dependable central defender; about the best in his position during his playing days. If he is playing for a club today and he is not even regular he can be considered, but if he is not playing at all it is dangerous,” he emphasised.Nyantakyi also hailed the current craze of transfers among Ghanaian players in Europe as a positive desperation in a bid to catch the attention of Coach Appiah ahead of the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup.“I think it is a positive desperation because they are all trying to catch the attention of the coach and also maintain their form for the World Cup. It is a positive move the players are making.“If you are in a club and you are not getting enough playing time, it will show when you come to the national team; but wherever you are, even with a small club and you are getting playing time, it has a better impact on the national team,” he noted.Nyantakyi, who doubles as the chairman of the Black Stars Management Commitee, said the situation was not peculiar to Ghana and, therefore, encouraged players to move from big clubs where they were not getting playing time to small clubs where they would enjoy more playing time. “I hope the coach would select the best, and whoever he selects to make up his final 23 I will support it,” he assured.He hinted that the FA would announce a comprehensive package regarding the Stars’ roadmap to the 2014 World Cup, including scouts, medical team, coaching staff, friendly matches, and camping base, among others, in the next couple of weeks.“Our target is to go beyond the benchmark we set for ourselves at the last World Cup (quarter-finals). Personally, I’m even looking forward to seeing Ghana become the first African country to win the World Cup trohpy,” Nyantakyi predicted.last_img read more

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Wenger on Sterling links: ‘I do not bid for anybody at the moment’

first_img Raheem Sterling in action for Liverpool 1 Arsene Wenger refused to be drawn on whether he will make a move for Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling but says he will be active in the transfer market during the summer.Sterling could be heading through the exit door at Anfield following the latest reports that the England striker is expected to tell Brendan Rodgers that he wants to leave at the end of the season.Arsenal have been strongly linked with a move for the 20-year-old who is emerging as one of the best young talents in Europe.But Wenger is adamant he will not enter any transfer negotiations until the end of May when the season has finished.Wenger said: “I do not bid for anybody at the moment. In the summer we will bid for people. At the moment we are not in transfer mode at all.“We want to finish our season well. We have put massive effort in since the start of the season to come back into a potentially good position in the Premier League, and now we need to focus on finishing well.“We have put so much effort in that it would be stupid not to finish the job well. The transfer period comes after the FA Cup final.“You absolutely want me to say something that I don’t want to say. I don’t like to lie. If I say that I will and I don’t do it, then I have lied.”last_img read more

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