Undefeated Orange heads into two-game road trip in Massachusetts

first_imgStatistically, the Orange is perfect this season. But even at 12-0 the team feels it can improve.The No. 1 Orange has not allowed a goal in the last five games played, but the team is still striving to be better.“We’re playing good defense, but I’d like to see our numbers on attack up a little bit more,” head coach Ange Bradley said.The Orange will have its chance against UMass (5-8) at 1 p.m. Thursday and against Stanford (9-4) at 4 p.m. Friday, both in Amherst, Mass.Since the team will be playing back-to-back games and have a short week to prepare, it will have little time to address all the issues it feels may plague it going forward.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAlthough the team does not take as many shots and has fewer goals in the second half of games, Bradley said that is what she prefers. It is a strategy she uses when the Orange is up by a few goals and the opponent begins to play the team differently.“We tell the team to manage the game (in the second), we possess and pass the ball a lot more, and we can pick and choose our moments to attack,” Bradley said. “It’s a hard mentality because you have to be patient and decide when to attack.”The team is great at maintaining leads, having only trailed once the entire season. But it is SU’s ability to come out aggressively at the beginning of the game that puts opponents on their heels for the whole game. The Orange is able to control the game by forcing the other team to play at its pace.Bradley is most concerned with her team’s shot selection on offense.“We’ve got to improve our percentage of shots on goal; we’re at about 50 percent and we want to be at 75 percent, so that’s something to work on,” Bradley said.On the contrary, Bradley encourages the team to be consistent defensively throughout the game. The team’s goal is to keep its opponent’s corners under three per game.Doing her part on defense each game, Leann Stiver says the cohesiveness of the backfield is what stifles the opposing corners.“I think the entire defense moves really well and Iona (Holloway) does a great job at center,” Stiver said. “The way they play takes the pressure off me.”Bradley moved Holloway to center this season and the team says it has been great having her in the middle. Bradley made the change because Holloway is a vocal leader, and the coach has confidence in her at the center position.Each player’s performance has a ripple effect on the other. The forwards’ play influences the midfielders, which can help the backfield. The teammates make sure to communicate during games to make sure they’re on the same page. Sometimes they give a subtle nod or eye contact, other times it is a more obvious yell.“We do a lot of communicating in practice so we can get a feel for each other’s play style during games,” midfielder Liz McInerney said.The communication level of the team is extremely important when executing penalty corners. The team is trying something a little different with its penalty corners for its upcoming games.Said Bradley: “I’m really looking forward to this weekend and putting our corner unit together, and seeing how we go forward with a new focus.” Comments Published on October 11, 2012 at 12:01 am Contact Jasmine: [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more