SU women’s soccer loses 4-2 to Niagara at home

SU soccer falls to Niagara

Goals from Root and Weidenbach weren’t enough for Orange in loss to Purple Eagles.
Published: August 26, 2021
Niagra’s Ida Miceli comes flying in for a slide tackle to try and take possession away from Syracuse’s Koby Commandant (16) during an NCAA women’s soccer game, Thursday, at Syracuse Soccer Stadium. Niagara defeated Syracuse, 4-2
Niagara’s Ida Miceli comes flying in for a slide tackle to try and take possession away from Syracuse’s Koby Commandant (16) during Thursday's game.

The Syracuse women’s soccer team suffered its first loss of the season Thursday, 4-2 to the Niagara Purple Eagles.

The Orange struck first just six minutes into the contest. Freshman midfielder Ashley Rauch set up senior midfielder Meghan Root for a clean one-touch goal.

The strike came after multiple early corner kick opportunities for the Orange. Pressure on Niagara’s defense prevented the Purple Eagles from entering SU’s offensive zone for much of the first half.

“I thought the first 15 minutes were really good,” SU head coach Nicky Adams said. “To get that goal off of something that we’ve been building on from every game was really important.”

That was until Niagara capitalized on a cross of their own. A well-placed touch pass from Annie Ibey slipped behind Syracuse’s defense and danced from Florence Vaillancourt’s foot into the back of the net.

“I’m really disappointed in our response,” Adams said. “After we got one, we really wanted to create more momentum and let them feel the pressure.”

Minutes later, Vaillancourt scored again for the Purple Eagles. Assisted by Emma Bough, Vaillancourt swiped a loose ball past the stretch of Syracuse graduate goalkeeper Lysianne Proulx.

“Our attacking unit needed to do a better job of defending from the front,” Adams said. “We didn’t split the field and keep them on one half.”

Syracuse’s Telly Vunipola (12) and Niagra’s Molly Tobin (5) brace for impact as the two battle for possession during an NCAA women’s soccer game, Thursday, at Syracuse Soccer Stadium. Niagara defeated Syracuse, 4-2.
Syracuse’s Telly Vunipola (12) and Niagara’s Molly Tobin (5) brace for impact as the two battle for possession during Thursday's game.

In the second half, Root and Rauch applied pressure to Niagara’s defensive zone. A Root shot bounced off of the left post, and Rauch earned a hard-fought corner kick.

But a lead pass from Niagara’s Ashley LoFranco found a streaking Vaillancourt, who hit the right side of the net for her third goal of the game.

“She put herself in some dangerous positions when we were transitioning and caught us,” Adams said. “She did a really good job, credit to that kid.”

Niagara’s Djenaba Thiam struck not long after that and spread the score to 4-1. In the final minute, Syracuse senior defender Natalie Weidenbach scored off of a corner kick, tallying a 4-2 score that stood in the Purple Eagles’ favor.

“We have to learn from tonight,” Weidenbach said. “Obviously, we have to correct the mistakes we made but we can’t dwell on it.”

The Orange plays at SU Soccer Stadium again at 1 p.m. Sunday against Eastern Michigan.

Avatar for Dean Zulkofske

is the Sports Lead Producer for The NewsHouse and a magazine, news and digital journalism graduate student from Stony Brook, N.Y.

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Avatar for Dean Zulkofske

is a graduate student in the multimedia, photography, and design program, and the Visuals Lead Producer for The NewsHouse.