Field Hockey

Syracuse field hockey opponent preview: What to know about Wake Forest

Daily Orange File Photo

Laura Hurff and Syracuse take on Wake Forest on Thursday.

After wrapping up the regular season with a 3-0 home victory on Sunday against Indiana, the second-seeded Orange (14-2, 4-2 Atlantic Coast) will travel to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to face ACC tournament host and seventh-seeded Wake Forest (10-6, 0-6) on Thursday at 1:30 p.m.

The winner will then play either Boston College (10-8, 3-3) or Virginia (12-7, 3-3) on Friday at 3:30 p.m.

All-Time Series: SU leads, 4-3.

Last time they played: Syracuse scored four goals in the first half to hold secure a 4-2 win against the Demon Deacons on Sept. 18 in Winston-Salem. Emma Lamison scored her third goal of the season only two minutes into the game. After a Wake Forest equalizer in the fifth minute, Lamison scored again in the 21st minute to put the Orange ahead, 2-1. Before the half ended, Jennifer Bleakney and Lies Lagerweij added to the SU total, making the score 4-1. The Orange gave up one goal in the second half, but that was it for the day.

The Wake Forest report: Wake Forest finished the season ranked No. 19 in the country, but failed to pick up a win during conference play.

The Demon Deacons have some offensive firepower as they finished with the 17th ranked scoring offense in the country, averaging just over three goals per game. WFU also registered over 14 shots per game, and finished with 225 shots on the year.

Led by Nicola Pluta, who finished with 17 goals in her 2016 campaign, Wake Forest was only one of four teams to score at least two goals against Syracuse this year.

Its defense, though, ranked last in the ACC in goals allowed per game (1.93) and is tied with Virginia for last in the conference in defensive saves with only one during conference play.

How Syracuse beats Wake Forest: In order for Syracuse to make it past the first round its defense has to keep doing what it has done all season long. While SU is generating nearly 19 shots per game, it has held its opponents to nine. In the first game against Wake Forest, the Demon Deacons managed only seven shots.

Wake Forest has a proven offense and generates scoring opportunities with over 13 shots per game, but if the SU defense can slow down the Wake Forest offense the way they did in the first game, and limit the shot opportunities, Syracuse should move on to Friday’s contest.

Stat to Know:                                                                 

0 – Wake Forest has no wins against ACC opponents this year, finishing conference play 0-6.

Player to watch: Nicola Pluta, No. 34, forward

The freshman from Germany earned ACC Rookie of the Year honors and was named to the All-ACC first team after leading the conference with 17 goals and 40 points.

In Wake Forest’s first matchup against the Orange, Pluta scored both goals for the Demon Deacons and was the only player in the conference to average more than one goal per game.

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