Laura Hurff, Lies Lagerweij power Syracuse to NCAA quarterfinals win

first_img Published on November 15, 2015 at 6:13 pm Contact Sam: sjfortie@syr.edu | @Sam4TR Facebook Twitter Google+ A few minutes before Syracuse started its NCAA quarterfinal game, back Lies Lagerweij and midfielder Laura Hurff jogged onto the field and started passing the ball back and forth, bouncing it sometimes to get used to the how the field would play.“It’s a game day ritual,” Lagerweij said. “We try new stuff out and get used to the field … It really helps (both of us) get relaxed.”Before coming together for an elaborate handshake, Hurff rested the ball on her stick and Lagerweij tapped Hurff’s stick from underneath, caught the ball and continued bouncing. It was tone-setting pregame practice in precision and control.Hurff and Lagerweij carried the poise and control into the game later, on defense, without needing to touch the ball much at all.The two spearheaded Syracuse’s defensive domination as the Orange (19-1, 7-1 Atlantic Coast) booked travel plans to the final four in Ann Arbor, Michigan with a 5-0 win over Princeton (11-7) in the second round of the NCAA tournament Sunday.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“A very important part of the defense was aggressiveness,” Lagerweij said. “… The midfield stepped up in interception lines and that was an improvement. That makes it really easy for the defense in the back to step up behind them.”Hurff repeatedly stole the ball in the midfield and distributed to her teammates. At one point Hurff swiped the ball from Princeton’s Debi-Michelle Jantzen, athletically dodged another defender, and left the crowd chuckling.After the second of Liz Sack’s two first-half goals, all the offense Syracuse ultimately would need, Princeton called a timeout and assistant coach Allan Law pulled aside center back Lagerweij and fellow defender Roos Weers for an animated conversation.Law didn’t want the defense to “stretch” too much and give Princeton many chances. The Tigers had begun the game in the same, aggressive style as the two teams’ regular season meeting on Oct. 18 when the Tigers held a 1-0 halftime lead.Off the opening play on Sunday, the Tigers flicked the ball into Syracuse’s defensive zone, letting the ball roll out of bounds. Then the Tigers forced a turnover, took a shot on goal and forced a penalty corner in the first 56 seconds.But just as Syracuse stormed back for a 4-2 win on Oct. 18, Princeton’s plan didn’t fully work Sunday. After Hurff rushed out to block Princeton’s penalty corner attempt, the Tigers managed just five more shots and one more penalty corner in the next 69:04. All afternoon from center back, Lagerweij directed teammates in front of her to jump passing routes, cover aggressive Tigers and poke from behind.“I honestly didn’t realize (Lagerweij played back) … because she’s everywhere,” said Benjamin Peters, who refereed Syracuse’s game Saturday, watching from the stands Sunday.Three times throughout the afternoon with Princeton on the offensive, Lagerweij used her reach to pickpocket the player on offense and pass the ball into the midfield.Lagerweij lacked space when she did that to Princeton’s Ryan McCarthy, so she dribbled into the corner. Her feet inches from endline and sideline, Lagerweij waited for McCarthy to move. When McCarthy shifted her balance by reaching her stick, Lagerweij snuck a pass through McCarthy’s legs to midfielder Hurff. An “Oooh!” went up from the crowd.Minutes later Hurff was warned when the referee felt that the defense had gotten too physical.As minutes ran low and Princeton’s desperation mounted, the Tigers sent forward Maddie Copeland, three times the Ivy League player of the week, to stay in the offensive circle. It was Lagerweij who yelled to her teammates and put herself between the action and Copeland.When Copeland received the ball with a handful of seconds left, Lagerweij forced her baseline, where her teammates stopped Copeland. As the buzzer sounded, the ball rolled harmlessly away.Said Lagerweij: “It was just pretty good defense today.” Commentslast_img