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 read more

Poe’s Perspective: LAFC is the future of Los Angeles’ soccer scene

first_imgIn the months following Vela’s signing, the club’s emphasis on Latino fans became clear. The official supporters’ group crafted chants in Spanish as well as English, borrowing concepts from Liga MX and the Premier League alike. The team’s events took place at staple sites in downtown L.A., at Randy’s Donuts and Pink’s Hot Dogs and dollar stores alike. The club even released a jersey for Steven Beitashour scripted in Farsi, the Iranian defender’s first language. You can learn everything you need to know about the Los Angeles Football Club within  five minutes of stepping foot in its stadium. It’s only been a year, but LAFC has already earned the right to say that it is the soccer club of Los Angeles. Sure, this team is the new kid on the block, but the tired nobility in Carson has been losing steam for ages, and the glitter of imported European stars will only keep the blood pumping for so much longer. As the Major League Soccer season approaches this weekend, the two teams will start the second leg of their fight for Los Angeles, and LAFC is poised to take the city. The MLS tried to recapture Latino fans in Los Angeles in the past with Chivas USA, an off-shoot of a Liga MX club, but that venture fell through. This time, however, LAFC made certain these fans weren’t missed. The club’s first signing was Carlos Vela, a Mexican national team star fondly referred to as “Carlito” by many Mexican fans. His acquisition was an incredible tactical move — he led the team in goals and assists last year despite missing a month of the season for the World Cup — and he also helped solidify Mexican fan support for the club. That momentum comes from the club’s mentality off the field, built off the motto that it was founded on — street by street, block by block, one by one. The club centered itself in this ideal before construction on its stadium began and, in the process, conquered the most important battle in winning dominance in the city — capturing Latino fans. The club’s outreach programs truly worked street by street to create a network of fans in the heart of Los Angeles. LAFC recognized everything that the Galaxy did wrong — it didn’t plant itself in a suburb rather than in the city and didn’t appeal to a white “family friendly” ideal rather than to the Latino community that dominates local soccer fandom. In the past year, I’ve seen enough of this club to know that it has legs. Something is different with LAFC. Its stadium has the hum of a championship team, the buzz of a storied club. The power that it holds among its fans is already greater and deeper than that held by the Galaxy, and if the club keeps winning, that momentum will only build. Banc of California Stadium is gleaming, especially when its facade catches the glow of a Los Angeles sunset. Yet it’s the energy within the bowl of the stadium that truly defines this club. Specifically, the north end of the stadium is a sheer wall of standing-room-only pandemonium. By kick-off, this section is filled with 3,252 fans with painted faces and flags that won’t stop waving until long after the final whistle. To watch an LAFC game is to experience a cacophony of black and gold. I’ve covered LAFC since its stadium was just a skeleton, since its roster consisted of three players. I was drenched in beer in the supporters section when Laurent Ciman scored the first-ever goal on the team’s home turf. I’ve seen fans outlast an hours-long rain delay, roaring chants and beating drums even when the thunder drowned them out. Julia Poe is a senior writing about her personal connection to sports. Her column, “Poe’s Perspective,” runs weekly on Thursdays. It’s hard to say what will happen if LAFC doesn’t keep winning, but one thing is for sure — this team hasn’t been around for long, but it’s certainly here to stay. The result has been a beautiful fan experience completely molded by a fanbase as colorful and vibrantly unique as Los Angeles itself. Fans wave the Korean, Vietnamese, Uruguayan and Mexican flags alongside the LAFC flags in the stands during games, and chants are sung in a mix of Spanish and English, with other fans quickly picking up the new language. LAFC is a celebration of this city’s rich history, its overlapping cultures and a common thread that brings them together — the game of soccer.  In truth, LAFC and the L.A. Galaxy didn’t finish last season that far apart. The Galaxy ended the season just below the red line, missing the playoffs, but there were only three games of difference between the two teams. Yet week in and week out, it felt as if LAFC had much more to work with, mainly because the club’s fans were so desperately, unyieldingly loud in their support.last_img read more