Facebook Twitter Google+ In 2015, Syracuse field hockey scored 3.82 goals per game en route to the national championship. The year before, SU tallied 3.25, and in 2016 the Orange put up 3.53 scores each game.This season, SU only averages 2.63 goals per game, almost a full goal down from a season ago. The fix to this offensive downtick may be on SU’s back line in the form of center back Lies Lagerweij.While SU’s back line has locked down opponents, placing second the nation in shutouts (10) and goals against average (.80), No. 12 Syracuse’s (11-5, 2-4 ACC) offense has often left the back line exposed. With one game left before the ACC tournament, against No. 24 Pacific (8-7, 4-2 America East) on Saturday at noon, the Orange needs to find an extra offensive push.The team may have discovered that against Drexel on Oct. 15, when Lagerweij, the All-American back, started at forward. However, Lagerweij’s role in Syracuse’s final regular season game is unclear, as the senior missed the Orange’s last game, a 3-2 road loss Sunday to Penn, due to injury. SU head coach Ange Bradley said Wednesday that she had not been updated on Lagerweij’s status.“She’s so talented,” Bradley said after the 4-0 win against the Dragons. “She reads the game, she has great hands. It doesn’t matter what position she’s in, she’s good.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMoving Lagerweij back to center forward for the game against Drexel opened up Syracuse’s offense, which scored four goals for just the fourth time all season. Lagerweij contributed a goal and two assists in the win, with her goal making it on SportsCenter’s Top 10. Published on October 25, 2017 at 11:36 pm Contact Andrew: email@example.com | @A_E_Graham Halfway through her freshman year, Lagerweij tore her PCL and subsequently moved to back. A year later, she started 21 games on the back line, helping anchor a defense that allowed only nine goals in six postseason games.Though Lagerweij was moved to defense, it didn’t mean she stopped doing what she came to Syracuse to do: score goals. In her sophomore season, she scored three goals and picked up four assists, and last year, Lagerweij led the Orange with 13 goals.When Lagerweij moved up to forward against the Dragons, she deftly fed passes into the arc for awaiting forwards and almost scored a goal by flicking the ball up and over Drexel’s goalie.“She can do both,” forward Elaine Carey said. “So if we just throw her in there after starting at the center back position, it won’t be a big deal.”The week leading into the Penn game, Lagerweij was noncommittal on where she might be playing.“We’re just going to see what’s best for the team at this point,” Lagerweij said. “… And how the backfield’s going to function when I’m in the front and how I’m even going to fit in in the front with the movement and the fluidity up there.”To fill the hole on the back line left by Lagerweij against Drexel, fellow All-American back Roos Weers slid to the center, flanked by usual starter Jamie Martin on one side and senior Annalena Ulbrich, making a spot start, on the other. Sophomore Claire Webb didn’t slide to the back line, a place she’s familiar playing, and instead remained in a center defensive midfield role.The outcome from the game against Drexel was positive for a defense playing without one of its key players. The Orange shut down the Dragons’ attack, limiting Drexel to one shot and no penalty corners.When Weers was subbed out though, Lagerweij shifted back to the center back position. With Lagerweij unavailable in Syracuse’s loss Sunday, SU was forced to either play Weers the entire game or go periods without either of its All-American backs on the field.“We’re just going to do what Ange thinks is best for the team at this point,” Lagerweij said.SU’s defense has proven to be one of the best in the nation, so long as either Lagerweij or Weers facilitates from the center back position. Now, perhaps, Lagerweij can help the offense play catch up. Comments
The Irish squad will continue training this morning at Carton House ahead of Sunday’s hugely-anticipated Six Nations contest with England at the Aviva.Cahir’s Tommy O’Donnell will be hoping to play a part in training.The Munster flanker’s recovery from a concussion injury is being monitored this week as he competes with Jordi Murphy for a starting role in the absence of Jamie Heaslip.