SU women’s soccer opens season with 2-0 win

SU soccer wins season opener

Second-half goals by Vunipola, Rauch give Orange 2-0 win over Fairleigh-Dickinson.
Published: August 22, 2021 | Updated: August 26th, 2021 at 2:35 pm
Syracuse Women's Soccer senior midfielder Telly Vunipola takes a penalty kick during the season opener versus Fairleigh Dickinson on August 22, 2021.
SU senior midfielder Telly Vunipola takes a penalty kick during the season home opener versus Fairleigh-Dickinson on Sunday.

The Syracuse women’s soccer team opened its 2021 season Sunday with a 2-0 win over Fairleigh-Dickinson thanks to a pair of goals by a senior and freshman.

After a scoreless first half at SU Soccer Stadium, senior midfielder Telly Vunipola scored the team’s first goal on a penalty kick less than 10 minutes into the second half.

Late in the match, Vunipola provided the assist to freshman forward Ashley Rauch who found the right side of the net.
Head coach Nicky Adams said her team was able to create more opportunities for players like Vunipola because they are able to play their natural positions.

Syracuse Women's Soccer freshman Ashley Rauch celebrates after scoring a goal in the second half versus Fairleigh Dickinson on August 22, 2021.
Syracuse women's soccer freshman Ashley Rauch celebrates after scoring a goal late in the second half versus Fairleigh-Dickinson.

“To get Telly Vunipola off the backline and move her up front, even (senior defender) Alina Miagkova to get her up front and do some really good things,” Adams said. “It definitely helps an attack when you have players in the right positions.”

The victory provides a strong start to the season for the Orange, which played only an eight-game schedule last season against ACC teams due to COVID-19 limitations.

Adams said her relatively young squad that includes 11 freshmen trained well together in pre-season and seems to enjoy playing with each other.

“Even though we’re young, we’re training at a very high level and being very competitive in every practice,” Adams said. “We’re only going to continue to get better as long as we can remain healthy.”

Senior captain Jenna Tivnan said the team culture has been positive in part because of so many new players.

“We’re really just looking forward,” Tivnan said. “We’re just trying to be the best we can be. We’re trying to play as hard as we can with smiles on our faces because we’re having so much fun.”

The team next faces Niagara at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at SU Soccer Stadium.

Avatar for Allison Turner

is the Sports Lead Producer for The NewsHouse and a broadcast and digital journalism graduate student from Potomac Falls, Virginia.