The Syracuse University women’s soccer team (7-5-3, 6-3-0 Big East) defeated the University of South Florida Bulls (5-7-4, 1-5-3 Big East) in a double-overtime gem on a rainy night in Syracuse, N.Y., 1-0.
Sophomore defender Cecilia Borgstrom scored the game’s only goal at the 109:59 mark, after she struck the ball from the top corner of the box.
“I’m so relieved because we played so hard and we deserve that,” Borgstrom said after the game.
The goal was Borgstrom’s third of the season. It was also her third shot of the game, tying her with junior midfielder Tina Romagnuolo for the Orange’s game-high in shots.
Borgstrom’s goal came with 1.9 seconds left in the game, a sight even Syracuse head coach Phil Wheddon said is very rare.
“I’ve only seen such a thing once, and it was in the World Cup,” Wheddon said.
Wheddon said he thought his team had a couple of scoring chances before Borgstrom netted the game winner, but that shouldn’t take from the result.
“It was a great finish under a lot of pressure,” Wheddon said.
The Orange’s offense came back to life after West Virginia shut them down last week by outshooting USF 15-10, seven on those on goal, in the game.
The Orange defense returned to top form after giving up a season-high five goals against the Mountaineers last week after a second Big East-leading seventh clean sheet of the season. The Orange also succeeded in keeping the Bulls offense out of rhythm, forcing South Florida to commit six offsides in the game.
Syracuse’s win against South Florida is both historical and important. It puts SU only one win shy of tying the program’s all-time record for most conference wins in a season. The win also clinches a spot in the Big East tournament and, if the Orange finishes in the top three of its division, it clinches a first round bye in the tournament.
“The first round bye is huge because you have an extra day of rest,” Wheddon said, “our season has been long and it has been very physical.”
The win also brings Syracuse to 5-2 in games decided by one goal, a result of the Orange’s perseverance throughout the season.
“As a team, we’ve been far more disciplined this year than we have been in previous years,” Wheddon said. “We pretty much have the same group of players we had last year, but this year we’re closer, we’re more organized, we pay more attention to detail and that’s really showing in our results.”
The seven wins are also the highest number of wins the Orange has had under Wheddon.
The Orange committed 11 fouls Friday, bringing its tally 175 on the season, a Big East-high, but Wheddon said he is not too concerned about the fouls.
“Fouls come down to the referee’s decision,” Wheddon said, “and we have different referees every week so one foul one week isn’t a foul the next.”
SU returns to the pitch Sunday at 1 p.m. as they host the Marquette Golden Eagles (15-2-0, 8-0-0) at SU Soccer Stadium.
(Image courtesy of Stock.XCHNG)
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