Sydney Brackett struggles to convert chances in 1-1 tie against No. 2 Florida State
Tony D. Curtis | Staff Photographer
Sydney Brackett jogged over to the sideline after being substituted out. She had her hands on her hips and looked down at the ground, swaying back and forth. Head coach Phil Wheddon put his left hand on her shoulder, and with his right, pointed to different players and locations on the field, explaining what she should have done differently on her last shot attempt.
The freshman striker nodded and walked toward the bench, head still looking down and hands still at her hips.
Brackett recorded three shots, the most by an Orange player Sunday at SU Soccer Stadium as Syracuse (7-5-3, 0-4-2) tied No. 2 Florida State (9-2-2, 3-1-2) in overtime, 1-1. The striker leads the Orange with 35 shots on the season and 15 shots on goal, but has only scored one goal this season, and has struggled so far in conference play.
After opening the ACC schedule with four shots against Notre Dame, Brackett registered just two shots over the next four games, of which the Orange lost all four. Against Florida State, Brackett failed to convert again.
“Sometimes you pull away from taking shots because you don’t feel confident,” Wheddon said. “She’s a young player under tremendous amounts of pressure in the ACC.”
But during the four-game losing streak, Brackett was nearly absent from the score sheet, failing to register shots against Miami and Duke. Against Virginia Tech she recorded one shot, but struggled to get any touches.
Against the Seminoles on Sunday, she got the touches she needed, but failed to capitalize on any of those opportunities.
In the 60th minute, Brackett boxed out a Florida State defender as the former received a pass from senior Stephanie Skilton. The striker turned over her right shoulder and raced past the defender. Brackett approached the goal, one-on-one against FSU goalkeeper Cassie Miller.
Brackett reached the left corner of the box, took one step and launched the ball high over the net with her left foot. She watched the ball sail high, put her head back and let out a deep breath.
Two minutes later, freshman Carolin Bader sent a cross into the box that was deflected by Miller, Brackett attempted a volley on the cross and kicked too far under it, sending a weak, lofted ball into the hands of Miller.
After the volley Wheddon subbed Brackett out for sophomore Drina Domic.
Brackett jogged over to the sideline and listened to Wheddon’s instructions before taking a seat.
“I just keep encouraging her to take shots,” Wheddon said. “If you don’t shoot you don’t score.”
Brackett subbed back in nine minutes later. She again turned over her right shoulder, separating herself from her defender, and junior Sheridan Street sent Brackett a through ball. The striker took it in open space as a defender chased after her. Brackett rapidly approached the net, hanging to the left side of the field.
She took one step and put her left foot on the ball, sending a line drive straight into the hands of Miller who recorded her third, and final, save of the day.
Hands on her hips, Brackett turned around and slowly jogged back to get into defensive position.
Brackett got her last opportunity in the 89th minute. Deep in FSU territory, Brackett turned the ball over twice. The first was recovered by Skilton, but the second was stolen by FSU. After the steal, Brackett chased after the defender, forcing a foul, and giving FSU the ball for the remainder of regulation.
“We’re not combining with her and she’s not getting as many chances,” Wheddon said. “But that’s the ACC and you don’t get nearly as much time on the ball.”
Published on October 9, 2016 at 7:14 pm
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