Syracuse stands 1 win from perfect regular season

first_imgAnge Bradley hasn’t thought about being undefeated.With all the goals, shutouts and wins over ranked opponents, the goal has remained the same for Syracuse’s head coach — win the National Championship.“The wins are great, but it doesn’t matter until tournament time,” Bradley said. “It’s just beginning.”Though Bradley isn’t concerned with the regular season, No. 1 Syracuse (15-0, 5-0 Atlantic Coast) looks to improve its best start in program history and go undefeated over the entirety of the regular season this weekend. All it needs is a win over No. 4 Duke (11-4, 2-3 ACC) Saturday at Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium.“It’s definitely going to be a big game,” said Alma Fenne. “… We really want to end it on a good note with all 16 (wins) and I want to win everything in the regular season. I think all the girls want that.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSU will be tested by a stingy and aggressive Blue Devil defense Saturday, but the team has grown used to competing with the nation’s best throughout the regular season. Ranked first in RPI, a strength of schedule and win-loss metric, Bradley’s squad will face its 10th ranked opponent of the season Saturday.In those games against top-20 teams, Syracuse has tripled the score of its opponents, 33-10. After being ranked No. 4 in the NFHCA poll to start the season and elevated to No. 1 by the season’s fifth week, SU feels it’s found itself with a target on its back.“Everybody wants to be a spoiler and it’s easy to be an underdog,” Bradley said. “It’s hard what this team is doing right now.”ACC play in particular has been challenging, with all seven teams ranked within the top 14 and six within the top eight. Duke is the only conference opponent Syracuse has yet to play, but the Orange has outscored the rest of the ACC, 18-6.Despite some of the stiffest competition in the country, senior forward Emma Russell wouldn’t rather her team play in any other conference. Games against top-ranked teams in the country such as a 4-2 win against ACC rival No. 3 North Carolina have been the toughest tests.After falling behind with two first-half Tar Heel goals, Syracuse stormed back with four goals in the second half. The game stands as a microcosm of Syracuse’s season — even when outplayed for the majority of the game, SU found a way to win.“In my opinion, and in many other people’s opinions, it’s the best league in the country,” Russell said. “To be able to play in the ACC and then the ACC tournament prepares you so much for the NCAA because it’s constantly really hard competition.”The team may not be focused on its regular season success, but the wins have helped the Orange achieve a massive step to reaching its postseason goals. After beating Wake Forest 6-0 on Sunday, Syracuse clinched a share of first place in the ACC and a first-round bye in the conference tournament.Russell said playing two games instead of three in the ACC tournament will help Syracuse be well rested and play to its potential.While the matchup Saturday against Duke isn’t crucial in terms of seeding for the conference tournament, it will be considered when NCAA seeding is announced. Bradley said that the last six or seven games are the most important ones of the season relative to tournament seeding.Only six teams have ever done what Syracuse hopes to do — scratch its entire regular and postseason schedule clean. UNC did it both in 2007 and 1995, and Old Dominion four times from 1983-92.Syracuse wastes no time moving forward to its goals, even after beating Princeton in its final home game of the season Sunday to clinch the best start in program history.“We didn’t celebrate yet,” Weers said. “We are going to celebrate the 22nd of November.“That’s when we will be National Champions.” Comments Published on October 21, 2015 at 8:27 pm Contact Liam: [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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