SU women’s soccer loses thriller to Florida State

SU women’s soccer loses thriller to FSU

Shea Vanderbosch’s 16 saves weren’t enough to keep the No. 3 Seminoles from coming out on top.

Grace Gillard (#27) motions for a foul to be called
Ryan P. Jermyn
Syracuse soccer player Grace Gillard (27) motions for a foul to be called during the match against Florida State on Thursday night at the SU Soccer Stadium.

The Syracuse women’s soccer team played a thriller with No. 3 Florida State Seminoles on Thursday night at SU Soccer Stadium. The scrappy team performance capitalized on FSU errors and repelled waves of razor-sharp offense before ultimately losing 3-2 after a late goal by FSU’s Onyi Echegini.

Goalkeeper Shea Vanderbosch led the Orange the whole game. Vanderbosch faced 19 shots on goal, 32 shots overall and 15 corners. She had 16 saves tonight, one shy of tying the program’s record. 

She deftly navigated a crowded goal area for much of the game. She calmly confronted oncoming FSU forwards, reacting perfectly to deflect shots in one-on-one situations. She also dove across the goal to make several fingertip and one-handed saves.

“All the credit to my players for fighting tooth and nail. We knew that was going to happen. And the sacrifice and grit, to throw their bodies. Shea, I mean, unreal,” Syracuse head coach Nicky Adams said.

What happened was a Seminoles statistical onslaught. The visitors dominated in every aspect, but the Orange managed to somehow hang around.

Junior midfielder Liesel Odden set the tone early. She played as a second striker alongside senior forward Hannah Pilley. Odden pursued a back pass from an FSU defender to their goalie. The goalie fumbled the ball at her feet while trying to pass it out of her goal area, squibbing the kick in front of the diligent Odden. Odden quickly recovered the ball and fired a composed shot into the net in the second minute of the game.

The Orange then settled into a defensive 4-4-2 for most of the half. FSU comfortably possessed the ball, passing it around all positions of their offensively-minded 4-3-3. The Orange remained strong despite FSU’s composure and pressure. 

Alyssa Abramson (#5) passes the ball upfield
Ryan P. Jermyn
Alyssa Abramson (5) passes the ball upfield on Thursday night.

Each of the 10 outfield players pressured whichever Seminole had the ball and maintained their defensive shape as FSU moved around the field. FSU’s speedy wide forwards Echegini and freshman Jordynn Dudley were unable to overcome an Orange defensive line that confronted direct runs and matched sprints out wide. 

While Dudley did manage to break the defensive line by nimbly cutting inside of the 18-yard box from the left shoulder to deliver a short cross to forward Beata Olsson for a goal in the seventh minute, most of their efforts were shut down.

Syracuse capitalized on another FSU error right before halftime. During one of the Orange’s few sustained offensive possessions, sophomore Alyssa Abramson launched a confident cross/shot towards goal from the right-hand shoulder of the 18-yard box. An FSU defender attempted to clear the ball by heading it. Abramson’s shot ricocheted off the defender’s head, rainbowing backwards across the goal and over FSU’s goalie to land neatly inside of the left-hand goal post. 

The Orange players went into the locker room energized by Abramson’s goal. The crowd buzzed about the team’s performance during halftime.

The second half was more open than the first. The inspired Orange consistently produced periods of offense while maintaining their defense. Forward Erin Flurey embodied the team’s confidence. 

She battled FSU’s midfield, caused errors, then immediately led counter-attacks. She was never out of position despite her intense effort and even returned to the game late in the half after being subbed out due to cramping around the 60-minute mark.

Ultimately, luck ran out for the Orange. An own goal at the right-hand goal post while defending an FSU corner tied the game 2-2 at the 54-minute mark. 

Goalkeeper Shea Vanderbosch (#30) catches a corner kick
Ryan P. Jermyn
Goalkeeper Shea Vanderbosch (30) catches a corner kick attempt from Florida State.

The noticeably frustrated FSU side was able to break through again with five minutes left in the game. Forward Onyi Echegini was left undefended on the left wing as the sides battled back and forth. After receiving a pass from the midfield, Echegini sprinted forward, faked a cut to the left, cut right across the body of the recovering defender and into the 18-yard box, then fired a shot across goal to the top right-hand corner.

Adams was realistic about the Orange’s odds tonight.

“It’s Florida State. They’re number three in the nation. You go to any box score in the nation, it’s what it looks like,” Adams said after the game.

Putting odds aside, Adams believes tonight’s game was positive. After a series of injuries, with another tonight to defender Kendyl Lauher, and a five-game road trip, the Orange stood tall on home turf.

The Orange (2-7-1) host Virginia Tech on Sunday at 1 p.m.