first_img Published on October 31, 2015 at 5:58 pm Contact Matt: [email protected] The Syracuse starters stood shoulder to shoulder at midfield as the lineups were announced. Each name was met with cheers from the crowd and fervent applause from the SU players.But 90 minutes later, red eyes and tears dissolved smiling faces. Maya Pitts and Alexis Koval stood with their arms wrapped around one another in front of the bench.Alex Lamontagne’s face lay buried behind her pink jersey she pulled above her eyes. As she walked away from the postgame huddle and back toward the bench, she started to cry.“It’s obviously tough being the last game of the season,” SU goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan said. “… emotions are high.”In a chippy game that featured three yellow cards, a combined 18 fouls and four injury timeouts, Syracuse (7-11-1, 3-7 Atlantic Coast) fell 1-0 to No. 7 Clemson (13-3-1, 7-3) at SU Soccer Stadium Saturday afternoon on senior day. After mustering just one shot in the first half, Syracuse tried to flip the script in the second, but was unable to pull even.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Orange opened the game with pressure on Clemson’s side of the field. For the first seven minutes, SU worked the ball around and won 50-50 balls at midfield.Jessica Vigna said Syracuse had prepared to match the aggression of what SU head coach Phil Wheddon called a “big, fast, physical” Clemson team. The Orange tackled the ball hard, and players from both teams were hitting the ground often.In the first half, an eight minute span saw four injury timeouts.Clemson’s Claire Wagner crumpled to the ground after bumping into Lamontagne. Wagner lay on the ground for minutes as the players on both teams paced back and forth before heading back to their respective benches to regroup.Four minutes later, Alana Hockenhull collided with a teammate in the box. Hockenhull lay on the ground before the Clemson trainer rushed onto the field.“I’ve never been in a game that every two minutes something is stopped,” Vigna said.And it continued. Clemson’s Paige Reckert hit the ground at midfield and had to be escorted off the field. Exactly two minutes later, Lamontagne fell to the ground in pain after getting her ankle clipped.Clemson outshot Syracuse 9-1 in the opening 45 minutes, and Vigna said the constant stop-and-go nature of the first half prevented SU from getting its footing. Once things settled down in the second half, Syracuse emerged offensively and outshot the Tigers 8-1 — but still with nothing to show.“I think that was a big influence because I know we were able to connect passes, we were switching fields more,” Vigna said. “Our long balls were more accurate.”A smoother second half showed a far more established Syracuse offense, but the Orange still wasn’t able to get the break it needed.With 10 minutes remaining, Lamontagne hit the ground in the box and got up looking for a foul, but the call went the other way. She rose to her knees and slammed her hands to the ground while Wheddon turned away from the field with hands on his head.“I thought we could have gotten one back,” Wheddon said.And with four minutes left, Syracuse seemed to have finally gotten it’s break. Jackie Firenze’s corner kick sent the ball sneaking to the back post, where Koval tried to place it just inside the post.For a moment, it seemed to go in. Emma Firenze jumped up in celebration on the Syracuse bench but quickly turned away in disbelief. The ball had popped back out onto the field, and a fan muttered the play needed to be reviewed.Minutes later, the horn sounded, bringing an end to the game and Syracuse’s season. The jogging slowed to a walk, and some of the players began to hug. As SU walked off the field for the final time, reality began to set in.“All of (the seniors) are such a value to this team,” Brosnan said. “It’s definitely gonna be a loss not having them anymore.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more