SU women’s soccer rallies to beat Eastern Michigan 2-1

SU soccer beats Eastern Michigan

Telly Vunipola and Hannah Pilley score in 2-1 comeback win over EMU
Published: August 29, 2021
Syracuse's Hannah Pilley celebrates after her second half goal in the come from behind win over Eastern Michigan University on Sunday.
Syracuse's Hannah Pilley celebrates after her second half goal in the come from behind win over Eastern Michigan University on Sunday.

Rain poured onto SU Soccer Stadium minutes before Syracuse women’s soccer played the Eastern Michigan Eagles on Sunday afternoon.

The fans who stayed had plenty to cheer for, though, as the Orange defeated the Eagles 2-1 in come-from-behind fashion.

Syracuse overwhelmed Eastern Michigan with offensive pressure and timely scoring chances from the opening whistle. Senior forward Meghan Root earned corner kicks and rushed the left side of the Eagles’ defense.

Getting the ball to Root and the other forwards was senior defender Jenna Tivnan, who organized much of the Orange attack in the defensive zone.

“Defensively and offensively, she’s been both of those threats,” Root said. “She’s done a good job of pushing the offense whether she’s dribbling up one time or finding a long ball over the top.”

SU led the Eagles in the first half with seven shots and six corner kicks, but neither team had anything to show on the scoreboard.

“I’m really happy with the transition moments that we’re creating,” head coach Nicky Adams said. “We’re creating opportunities but maybe we’re taking one too many touches to get the ball off of our foot, or one too many passes instead of just hammering it at the goalkeeper.”

Ten minutes into the second frame, SU sophomore defender Zoe Van de Cloot tackled a streaking EMU player inside the box and was given a yellow card.

With the penalty kick opportunity, the Eagles turned to junior midfielder Simone Chiodo for the strike. Orange graduate goalkeeper Lysianne Proulx dove to the right side of the open net and stuffed Chiodo’s shot.

However, the rebound was left unattested and was swept over the goal line by EMU freshman midfielder Maddie O’Farrell.

But the Orange did not back down. A left-to-right cross from senior midfielder Telly Vunipola reached sophomore forward Hannah Pilley, who drove home the tying tally. Adams said she planned to change the Orange gameplan before Pilley’s goal hit the net.

“I’m proud of them,” Adams said. “Our response is what we needed, and to get Hannah Pilley her first collegiate goal was, I think, a confidence booster for her.”

Then, in the final three minutes, graduate student defender Natalie Weidenbach struck a corner kick that found Root inside the box. Root flicked the ball over the Eagles’ defense, off of Vunipola’s head and into the net.

“Luckily the ball came out to the back post,” Root said. “I just played it back in, hopefully somebody gets a head on it, and she did. Super awesome.”

Vunipola’s second point of the match propelled Syracuse to a 2-1 lead, which held until the final horn. Adams said effort like what she saw today reminds her the SU women’s soccer program is on the right path.

“Putting on the Syracuse jersey is not just putting it on for them anymore,” Adams said. “They want to show gratitude to this University, the people that are supporting them and giving it their all. You’re going to see continuous fight from this group no matter what.”

Syracuse's Koby Commandant forays forward into Eastern Michigan's half during the match on Sunday.
Syracuse's Koby Commandant forays forward into Eastern Michigan's half during the match on Sunday.
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is the Sports Lead Producer for The NewsHouse and a magazine, news and digital journalism graduate student from Stony Brook, N.Y.