Even as SU tightened up defensively, van der Velde was tested again. Twenty four minutes into the second half, she took two quick steps to her near post, kicking the ball wide of her cage to prevent UVM from cutting into the Orange lead. She then made another block just 20 seconds later, mopping up the area in front of goal. After those two saves, van der Velde didn’t face another shot on goal in the last 10 minutes. Those shots were the only two UVM placed on the cage in the second half. Even as the Catamounts pressed higher and higher up the field, they attempted wayward shots that ended well wide of the cage. Lagerweij may be gone, but SU has had multiple players play lots of minutes in her absence. Freshman Laura Graziosi, sophomore Steph Harris, and junior Claire Webb all helped defensively to maintain SU’s lead in the second half. “With her spot open, other people have stepped up,” Weers said. “Obviously we miss her, we miss everyone who leaves.” In the opening 20 minutes of the game, Vermont drew three penalty corners, a penalty shot, and posted three shots on goal. As Weers and Syracuse’s young lineup settled into its first game of the season, the Orange began to suffocate the Catamount attack in the middle third of the game. Syracuse scored two late goals in the first half, then stifled the Vermont attack by holding the Catamounts without a shot on goal for almost 30 minutes. Vermont’s lone goal came on a penalty shot after a foul was committed on the SU goal line. “We had a little bit more control in the second half,” Weers said. “Obviously we were a little nervous in the first game of the season, you work so hard in the preseason.” AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWith 12 minutes left in the first half, Vermont tested sophomore goalie Borg van der Velde, who made a critical kick save with her feet. At that point, both teams had posted four shots on goal, and Vermont appeared the more likely to net a second. Three open field giveaways in Syracuse’s defensive half nearly cost the Orange on the scoreboard, as SU needed van der Velde to make three first-half saves.Early in the second half, SU head coach Ange Bradley began snapping her fingers in a circling motion, urging her team forward, to press higher up the field, and win the ball back, she said.“We’re slow right now, we’ve got to get faster, we’ve got to get more pressure on the ball, and we’ve got to make reads quicker,” Bradley said. “From the sidelines, you can help tempo that a bit, and get them to identify that we need more aggression.”Weers and van der Velde worked together to help communicate with the underclassmen without Lies Lagerweij’s presence anymore. Both voices could be heard all the way from the bleachers at J.S. Coyne Stadium, calling out commands to push further up the field to press, or drop deeper to prevent a counterattack. Weers is forced to be more of a communicator this year on the field, Bradley said. Throughout spring practices and scrimmages and summer pre-season, Bradley has been impressed. “She’s doing great,” Bradley said. “Roos had a really good preseason and stepped up and (has) taken on additional responsibilities, and we don’t want to overstretch her that she loses who she is.” Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments Published on August 24, 2018 at 5:59 pm Contact Anthony: [email protected] Moments after Vermont’s third penalty corner of the first half, Roos Weers made a crucial block right in front of goal with her stick. Then, while ripping off her facemask and throwing it into the grass behind the goal, she raced to her right, stealing the ball from the attacking Catamount, and playing a long pass up the field.That transition and ensuing attack led to a penalty corner. Syracuse converted that corner into a 2-1 lead as Laura Graziosi netted a backhand top shelf. The Orange scored a quick third, a penalty corner goal from Weers, and a fourth early in the second half, as Syracuse defeated Vermont 4-1 to open its 2018 season Friday.