Women’s soccer wins Senior Day battle against Merrimack

Women's soccer wins battle against Merrimack

SU's Ashley Rauch and Chelsea Domond each score goals during a tense match with the Warriors.
Published: September 5, 2022
NCAA Women’s Soccer: Merrimack Warriors vs Syracuse Orange
Syracuse women's soccer forward Chelsea Domond (21) pumps her fists after scoring against the Merrimack Warriors on Sunday afternoon at SU Soccer Stadium.

What was initially supposed to be a night to honor seniors turned into a feisty battle between Syracuse women’s soccer and Merrimack College. This was a game in which the Orange controlled the pace winning 2-1, but didn’t lack extracurricular activity from both sides. A little more than halfway through the first half, tension started to brew between the two sides.

Syracuse forward Blue Ellis was attempting to weave her way through the Merrimack defense when suddenly she was slide tackled by Rebecca Harty. Ellis immediately got up and shoved Harty from behind. Surprisingly, no penalties were called and play resumed.

NCAA Women’s Soccer: Merrimack Warriors vs Syracuse Orange
SU's Erin Flurey (26) and Merrimack's Caleigh Christensen (7) compete for a header on Sunday.
NCAA Women’s Soccer: Merrimack Warriors vs Syracuse Orange

Syracuse's Ashley Rauch (4) reacts to scoring a goal against the Merrimack Warriors at SU Soccer Stadium.

NCAA Women’s Soccer: Merrimack Warriors vs Syracuse Orange

Merrimack's Molly Murnane (23) and Syracuse's Emma Klein (20) fight for the ball on Sunday.

Less than 10 minutes into the start of the first half, the Orange executed a goal thanks to a tremendous pass by the match player Koby Commandant to sophomore Ashley Rauch for her first goal of the season.

After the game, Commandant was awarded player of the match by her coaches.

“We named Koby, player of the game, we thought she was very consistent on both sides of the ball,” SU Coach Nicky Adams said. “We can always count on Koby to be defensively sound, which calms us down to be able to attack.”

With any acknowledgment from coaches for their play, players enjoy the feeling. For Koby Commandant, that’s precisely what occurred.

“It’s a great feeling, being recognized by our coaches every time, no matter if it was just good pass, good run, anything,” said Commandant. “Being named player of the match is always a great feeling. It gets me confident for the next game.”

Chelsea Domond scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal for the Orange. Just before halftime, after a great dribbling showcase that broke the ankles of two Merrimack players, Domond put the ball in the net.

“You know, I liked doing Senior Day in the middle of the season,” Adams said. “It’s not a goodbye. It’s let’s keep going, you know what I mean? So we’re excited to keep going.”

Make no mistake, while the game was physical between both sides, the Orange controlled the pace on Senior Day and also dominated statistically.  Syracuse was simply more aggressive than Merrimack when it came down to it. Syracuse attempted 27 (16 on goal) shots to Merrimack’s’ 11 ( 5 on goal).

The victory marked Syracuse’s fourth straight victory and Adams’ 100th career victory as a coach. Syracuse will next go on the road Thursday to play Binghamton, and Adams knows the challenge her team will be facing in the non-conference game.

“We’re going into an environment where it’s turf, so we’ll start training on turf again this week,” Adams said. “But we, we got to pick it up a little bit. I thought we were a little sloppy, too quick to pass the ball. We weren’t making good decisions, and we have to be sharper.”

Koby Commandant (16) plays a ball over the defense on Sunday, September 9th, 2022.
SU's Koby Commandent (16) looks to play the ball over the defense on Sunday.