Superior conditioning leads Syracuse to 2nd-half success

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 30, 2015 at 8:37 pm Contact Liam: Alma Fenne wasn’t worried about being down 2-0 in the first half to then-No.2 North Carolina. She was unfazed falling behind by a pair of early goals to then-No. 11 Boston College a week later.Fenne didn’t just believe her team had the offensive firepower to storm back, but was confident that Syracuse was built to outlast opponents.SU went on to score four second-half goals against UNC and three against BC to pull out a pair of late comebacks.“I feel like we’re more fit than any other team we’ve played,” Fenne said. “You can see other teams tiring out and we can take advantage of that.”No. 2 Syracuse (9-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast) has outscored opponents 20-3 in the second half, a staggering differential that the Orange owes to its endurance. SU will be tested this Friday at J.S. Coyne Stadium against Monmouth (3-7), who has scored a majority of its goals this season in the final 35 minutes.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textForward Emma Russell noted that the Orange has made adjustments at halftime that have allowed the team to better attack opponents. But with both teams changing game plans at halftime, the difference for SU is its superior conditioning to handle the 6-10 miles players run each game.“At the end of a game, we can feel ourselves picking up and we’re still going strong,” Russell said. “Our fitness helps us a huge amount to propel into the second half … and to be able to play at top speed for 70 minutes has helped us a lot.”Head coach Ange Bradley said that Syracuse is known for its fitness — the result of a regimen that starts in the offseason. About 10 players, mostly freshmen and international, stayed in Syracuse to train throughout the summer.Fenne, Lies Lagerwejj, Annalena Ulbrich and others spent the summer waking up at 6 a.m. to train with assistant strength and conditioning coach Corey Parker. Morning sessions involved quick rotations among several exercises, with players running sprints in between sets.A staple of the summer workouts was the weekly 2,000-meter run. Fenne, entering her first collegiate season after coming to the U.S. from the Netherlands, trimmed her initial time of 8:50 to 7:55 — below the required 8:20 mark.In season, the team primarily conditions on Tuesdays and does small drills interspersed with sprints. Syracuse simulates in-game fatigue by running three 100-yard sprints before taking a penalty corner.The results have paid off.The offense finds opportunities in the second half that may not have been available earlier in the game, Fenne said. Syracuse is garnering more second-half shots and penalty corners than its opponents.A penalty-corner goal ignited the comeback against the Tar Heels when Emma Lamison, the team’s leader in earning corners, entered the circle and hit the ball off of a UNC back. Roos Weers found the back of the net on the ensuing penalty corner and momentum turned in Syracuse’s favor.“We wear teams down and that opens up holes that maybe aren’t there in the first half,” Bradley said.There were no fast breaks during the second half of last weekend’s game against then-No. 4 Virginia. But Cavaliers forwards had gone streaking down the field twice in the first half, beating the Syracuse backs in transition.This time it was the Orange’s defense wearing down an opponent in the second half, allowing only one shot. Syracuse had outpaced and outlasted yet another top-ranked team.“(Fitness)’s something we take pride in and it helps throughout every game,” Russell said. “As Corey says, the training helps us not hobble into our goal of the (National Championship), but we’re striding in.” Commentslast_img

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