Syracuse women’s soccer falls to Auburn in home opener

SU women’s soccer drops home opener

Head coach Nicky Adams describes the match against the SEC opponent as a “tale of two halves” for the Orange.

Syracuse women’s soccer opened its home schedule with a 2-1 loss to the Auburn Tigers on Thursday afternoon at the SU Soccer Stadium.

For Syracuse (1-2), the afternoon was defined by the Orange’s inability to hold the ball for more than a few passes and a lack of chances created in the opponent’s box.

An Orange giveaway on their own end led to Auburn taking the initial lead in the 25th minute of play. The Tigers added another goal from a corner kick in the 61st minute. 

While SU pulled one back in the 68th minute with a goal by senior forward Hannah Pilley, it could not find the tying score against the Tigers’s tough defense.

SU head coach Nicky Adams said the game was a “tale of two halves” with the Orange settling in after a “chaotic” first half.

“Once we started calming down and were able to unlock and break lines, we were able to become a bit more dangerous going forward,” Adams said. 

Beyond the scoreline, Auburn was superior across the board in shots (16-8), shots on goal (10-2), and corner kicks (11-5).

SU sophomore goalkeeper Shea Vanderbosch kept her team in it with eight stops on the afternoon.

“She is one of the best shot-stoppers in the nation,” Adams said. “I thought Shea was good last year. You’re going to see Shea be great this year. 

“She has come back as a brand new player.”

Syracuse registered an early shot on goal when redshirt sophomore forward Erin Flurey – who scored a goal and assist against Siena on Sunday – forced a sharp save from Auburn goalie Maddie Prohaska in the second minute.

The Tigers were quick to respond, forcing saves from Vanderbosch in the fifth and eighth minutes and tallying a series of early corners.

Auburn’s first goal in the 25th minute the Tigers capitalized on an Orange turnover with redshirt senior forward Marissa Arias tapping in from close range after Vanderbosch couldn’t contain the initial attempt from senior midfielder Anna Haddock.

“I think we gave them the first goal with the bad giveaway at the back,” Adams said. “They took advantage of it and punished us.”

Syracuse committed a nearly identical mistake a few minutes later and was lucky to see Auburn fifth-year forward Sydney Richards’ attempt deflected out for a corner.

The Tigers firmly established control as the first half went along, racking up eight shots, forcing four saves, and winning seven corner kicks.

Coming out of halftime with a renewed sense of energy, SU brought the game into Auburn’s half of the pitch initially before Auburn regained control. 

A SU turnover off a goal kick gave Auburn another shot on Vanderbosch who tipped the ball over the bar in the 56th minute.

From there, the Tigers continued to exert pressure, winning a corner in the 61st minute that led to junior defender LJ Knox scoring Auburn’s second goal after SU failed to clear the ball out of the box.

The Orange started to rally after Auburn’s Carly Thatcher committed a foul on the left wing just outside the box. The resulting free kick enabled Pilley to clean up Grace Gillard’s header attempt to make it 2-1 in the 68th minute.

The action went back and forth in the game’s final minutes with Auburn regularly holding the ball near either of Syracuse’s corner flags. The Orange won a corner in the 88th minute, but junior defender Kylen Grant’s shot from the top of the box was wide.

The Orange will be back in action at 7 p.m. Sunday, hosting Binghamton at the SU Soccer Stadium.