Women's Soccer

Courtney Brosnan’s career day leads Syracuse women’s soccer to shocking tie with No. 2 Florida State

Jacob Greenfeld | Asst. Photo Editor

Courtney Brosnan recorded a career-high 15 saves as Syracuse tied No. Florida State.

Courtney Brosnan frantically jumped up and down, shouting “clear the ball already” to her teammates. Only one minute remained in overtime against Florida State. Brosnan had already faced 27 shots from FSU, eight of which came in overtime.

But instead of displaying exhaustion, she appeared animated and lively.

Defender Maddie Iozzi complied with Brosnan’s demand and booted the ball to the other end of the field. FSU’s final assault on the Orange was terminated.

When the horn sounded, Brosnan leapt into the air as her teammates mobbed her. Her intense demeanor throughout the game changed as a huge smile crept across her face.

Brosnan compiled a career-high 15 saves in the best performance of her career. It even reminded Syracuse head coach Phil Wheddon of Tim Howard’s performance against Belgium in the 2014 FIFA World Cup for the United States. Brosnan was nearly unbeatable, letting up just one goal in the game. It was the second-most saves in a game in program history.

Syracuse (7-5-3, 0-4-2 Atlantic Coast) faced an attacking onslaught from No. 2 Florida State (9-2-2, 3-1-2) throughout the game. Most of it was spent in the Orange’s half — save for a few counterattacks — as SU essentially parked the bus on defense, keeping all but one player in the defensive end except on counterattacks. FSU outshot the Orange 27-9 on the day, but Brosnan held the Seminoles to one goal en route to a shocking 1-1 tie.

Florida State was coming off a 2-1 upset by Boston College three days earlier.

“She’s been amazing for us all year,” Wheddon said. “But for her to come up big like that — especially when she’s injured — is a massive boost for us.”

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Jacob Greenfeld | Asst. Photo Editor

Ironically in her career-best performance, Brosnan was a game-time decision after separating her shoulder Thursday against Virginia Tech.

She didn’t train on Friday or Saturday. The first action she received since Thursday, according to Wheddon, was a little handling practice Saturday morning.

“Since Virginia Tech, I’ve been taking care of it and icing it as much as possible,” Brosnan said. “I came out in the warm up and I just knew I was ready to play. Pain is relative but it obviously hurt throughout.”

Coming into Saturday’s game, Syracuse had scored only one goal in its last four games. It took just 59 seconds for the Orange to erase that trend.

Alex Lamontagne received a crisp pass from Stephanie Skilton shortly after kickoff. Despite being 30 yards away from goal, Lamontagne curved the ball high over FSU goalie Cassie Miller and into the net.

But Florida State then controlled possession and relentlessly pressed forward. In the fifth minute, midfielder Megan Connolly laid a perfect cross to fellow sophomore Kaycie Tillman. Tillman booted it past Brosnan but the referee immediately ruled she was offside.

Yet it seemed inevitable that one of the Seminoles’ overwhelming number of chances would succeed. Finally, in the 25th minute, Connolly pushed on a counterattack following an Eva Gordon turnover. She passed it to midfielder Elin Jensen, who settled the ball, dribbled it to her left, and rocketed it over Brosnan to tie the game up.

That was the only time Florida State beat Brosnan, though.

The rest of the game consisted of the same. There were repeated and relentless Seminoles attacks against the Syracuse defense. Once in a while, Syracuse conjured powerful counterattacks and got opportunities on net, but they were few and far between.

“That kinda wasn’t the strategy,” Jessica Vigna said with a laugh, regarding the prospect of the team parking the bus. “But it got difficult, so especially in the second half so we were just like OK, let’s survive until the end.”

“It depended on which end we were going to defend first in overtime,” Wheddon said. “We had the wind in our face for the first overtime so we just tried to weather the storm on defense, and we knew we could catch them on the counter.”

Despite dropping most of its team in front of the net, Syracuse still allowed a barrage of shots Brosnan’s way.

In the second overtime, Brosnan slid to her knees to knock away a one-on-one shot from Tillman with her hands. Taylor Hallmon collected the rebound, but Brosnan dove to stop another potential game-winning shot.

Wheddon’s stock answer describing Brosnan’s performances this season has been that she’s one of the best goalkeepers in the ACC.

He has said it at least four times now.

But her outing Sunday wasn’t just another good performance. It was her best.

 

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