Syracuse turns ball over 23 times, struggles on clears in win over UConn

first_imgAn extended arm with one finger pointed to the Carrier Dome roof emerged from a Connecticut celebratory huddle.Syracuse defender Mallory Vehar had thrown away the ball on a clear, and UConn attack Katherine Finkelston, unimpeded, barreled toward SU goalie Kelsey Richardson, and fired a shot to Richardson’s left. The goal capped a 10-minute, 4-1 run by the Huskies and made the score 11-10, still in favor of SU.“It was kind of like we passed it to the other team,” head coach Gary Gait said jokingly. “Oh, we did pass it to the other team, actually.“I thought it was a nice assist by Mallory Vehar, not under pressure by any means. Just ran up and passed it right to her.”While No. 2 SU (5-0) beat UConn (1-3), 12-11, the Orange turned the ball over 23 times, its first 20-turnover game since a May 2 game against Loyola (Maryland) last season. The turnovers, especially on clears, resulted in fast breaks that UConn capitalized on. Before Wednesday’s game, SU had only seven unsuccessful clears all season, but nearly doubled the number against UConn, clearing the ball out of its end just 9-of-15 times.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Today it seemed like the ball was the size of a marble and we couldn’t see it,” Gait said. “(We) kept dropping it, throwing it where a person wasn’t and we’re just out of sync a little bit.”With the score 10-6, Richardson came out of the net for a loose ball. Cradling behind the net, UConn defenders pressured her and she tried to flip the ball to Vehar, who misplayed the pass.The ball rolled out of bounds as Vehar helplessly reached her stick out to save it.“I think that a lot of the communication was lacking on our part,” Richardson said. “We were trying to control the uncontrollables with the refs and things like that.”During the ensuing media timeout, SU players formed a single huddle, listening first to assistant coach Regy Thorpe, who stood in the middle. The single huddle migrated into two, and Gait talked to the offense with his whiteboard.The Huskies worked the ball around following the timeout, and UConn’s Grace Nolan cut from below the net to Richardson’s left. She faked her way through two defenders and slotted her shot past Richardson, who sat and stared into the back of the net.“I think we put a little more pressure on ourselves, I think we could have settled down. We were trying to, for whatever reason, quickly go,” Vehar said.The inability to clear the ball gave UConn fast breaks, leaving Richardson alone in one-on-one situations. As Richardson looked at the stat sheet during the postgame press conference, all she could do was shake her head.“I thought I had a lot more than five saves,” Richardson said.But overall, it wasn’t the saves that nearly cost SU the game, it was the thrown away possessions.“We’re a great clearing team,” Vehar said. “So I think we needed to take a step back because it’s a valuable possession that we need to take care of.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 25, 2015 at 10:56 pm Contact Chris: [email protected] | @ChrisLibonatilast_img read more