Syracuse endures yet another lengthy stretch of away games to start season

first_img Published on February 17, 2015 at 12:30 am Contact Connor: [email protected] | @connorgrossman Don’t ask head coach Leigh Ross if she’s bothered by the 47 days and 31 games that stand between Syracuse’s season opener and its first home game.“No, we’re used to it,” she says.Syracuse (4-6) will take five round-trip flights to nearly every time zone in the country, endure more consecutive road games than any other SU athletic team and spend more time on the road leading up to its first home game than any other Atlantic Coast Conference softball team. The Orange is two weeks into its season, but still more than a month away from its March 24 home opener at SU Softball Stadium.The tumultuous stretch is nothing novel for Ross’ team, which has averaged nearly 29 consecutive road games to start the last 10 seasons, largely because of a northeast climate that coats the field in snow and ice until the end of March — and even into April last season.Ross denied that the stretch of road games affects the program’s ability to attract recruits, but the stress, academic inconvenience and other effects of countless hours of cross-country travel in a 55-game season can have a toll on the players.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“It comes with the territory,” Ross said. “I think that we have to be smarter with what we do while we’re here and get our rest and our sleep … But it’s not even a second thought.”The travel doesn’t have to be a second thought for Ross, but almost everything regarding the travel is for Lindsay Nandin, the program’s director of operations. She’s in charge of booking flights for 25 people and around 15 hotel rooms for the team to stay in almost a year in advance.A utility player for the Orange from 2006–09, Nandin now contributes to the program by tripling up as the team’s travel agent, meteorologist and concierge. She often scours the mobile weather reports in the hours leading up to team flights.An unexpected late-season snowstorm the day before a weekend series against Georgia Tech last year caused the games to be moved 960 miles south to Atlanta.“There’s injuries, academic issues and all kinds of things that happen so you just have to be ready to change certain things,” Nandin said, “and know the rules of all these airlines and hotels and different contracts that could be changing.”Ross has been through all the ups and down of the team traveling entering her ninth season as head coach. While known for keeping a cool head about issues with the players, she once forced a Philadelphia airport staff member into sending a bus to bring the team back to Syracuse at 11 p.m.Regardless if the travel logistics work out, she says it’s the time together on the road that brings her team chemistry and not the day-to-day grind of coming and going to practice.“The stories all come when you’re on the road,” Ross said.Some evoke a bad memory, as was the case in the Philadelphia airport. Others may evoke another sense, like a five-hour bus ride last season that required the team to pull over to get fresh air after the bus driver “blew up the bathroom,” pitcher Lindsey Larkin said.Having endured plenty of road trips entering her third season, Larkin is a part of a veteran core that has to keep the young nucleus of players prepared to handle the road. They often spend downtime in hotel lobbies studying as a team to keep up on missed schoolwork.Larkin said it helps hold everyone accountable. But even after two full seasons worth of time on the road, she’s still learning how to keep track of everything.“I’m an organized person as it is but you learn you’re not as organized as you think,” Larkin said. “You’re not on top of things as you think.”She a plays a role for players like Syracuse’s freshman starting shortstop Sammy Fernandez, who said packing was the most stressful part of the intimidating process.Her biggest fear is forgetting what she checks most often: her equipment. Everything will come to a screeching halt for the .441-hitting freshman if she arrives in California on Friday without her helmet, elbow guard and glove, she said.The limits of practicing in Manley Field House may cripple the team’s ability to take true ground balls or hit live batting practice. But Fernandez doesn’t think her team is at a disadvantage, because the team has been successful in years past with a similar stretch of games.“This is our favorite time of the year, this is what we work for,” Larkin said. “Travel is everything we look up to. We work every day to get out of Manley and out onto a field and play teams that are making us better.”Correction: In an original version of this story, the amount of games in Syracuse’s schedule was incorrect. SU plays 55 games this season. The Daily Orange regrets this error. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Beat writers not optimistic on Syracuse’s chances against North Carolina in ACC tournament

first_imgNo. 11 seed Syracuse (20-12, 8-10 Atlantic Coast) moved on in the ACC tournament by beating Wake Forest, 74-63, on Tuesday night. That win set up a Wednesday showdown with No. 6 seed North Carolina (22-7, 11-7). The Tar Heels came to the Carrier Dome in late February, and although the Orange tied the game at 74 with about three minutes to play, UNC snuck out with a 78-74 win. Wednesday’s rematch has potentially even bigger implications for SU’s NCAA Tournament hopes.Here’s how our beat writers think it will go.Matthew Gutierrez (25-7)Fear the TheoNorth Carolina 70, Syracuse 62The thing to watch Wednesday night is North Carolina’s inside-out offense. That’s how the Tar Heels put up 78 points against Syracuse two weeks ago — UNC’s most recent win — planting Theo Pinson in the high post and dissecting the zone. The Tar Heels have the advantage in the half court, so there’s little doubt Syracuse may turn to a full-court press or half-court traps to try to speed up UNC. Also be on the lookout for rebounds and second-chance points. Roy Williams’ squad is big, out-rebounding SU 38-34 in the teams’ first meeting and holding a 19-12 advantage in second-chance points. SU’s best chance lies in buckling down on the boards and high post.Sam Fortier (23-9)Turn-and-heeledNorth Carolina 69, Syracuse 60AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse got back into the game against North Carolina two weeks ago because the Tar Heels went “brain-dead” in the second half against the press, Roy Williams said. UNC will be better prepared this time. The two most interesting things tonight to me are whether Marek Dolezaj can build on his career night and whether UNC plays a zone defense against the Orange, given that the scheme has given them fits this season. Though Syracuse will put up a good fight offensively, if last night was any indication, it simply won’t be enough to overwhelm a tough No. 6 seed in North Carolina.Tomer Langer (22-10)Brooklyn BluesNorth Carolina 81, Syracuse 65There were moments in the win over Wake Forest that Syracuse played the part of contender, like when SU opened up an early 20-4 lead. There were other times, like when Wake Forest closed it to within six at halftime and made a late push, that the Orange showed its flaws. Against a North Carolina team, flaws aren’t going to cut it. In fact, when these two teams matched up two weeks ago, UNC had more in-game mental mistakes and still pulled out a victory. SU is revitalized with the emergence of Dolezaj, but ultimately won’t have enough firepower against North Carolina. Comments Published on March 7, 2018 at 11:20 am Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more


first_imgChristine Kelly who has lived in Birmngham for 40 years but it is stil flying the flag for DonegalTENS of thousands of Donegal fans descended on Croke Park as the countdown to the kick off is just 60 minutes away.The man in the middle, Laoise referee Maurice Deegan, will take charge of the throw in at 3.30 pm as Donegal chase its first Sam Maguire trophy since 1992. And for one fan he spelt out a clear message to Mayo manager James Horan on a placard outside Dublin’s Croke Park stadium: I can’t wait  foranother 61 years!!!Jimmy McGuinness fields an unchanged side from their scintilating performance in the All Ireland semi-final.Here is the Tale of the Tape:DONEGAL Paul Durcan, Paddy McGrath, Neil McGee, Frank McGlynn, Eamon McGee, Karl Lacey, Anthony Thompson, Neil Gallager, Rory Kavanagh, Mark McHugh, Leo, McLoone, Ryan Bradley, Patrick McBrearty, Michael Murphy and Colm McFadden. Meath manager James Horan also fields an unchanged side that upset Dublin’s dream of retaining Sam in Ireland’s capital city.Colm Doyle retains his place despite concerns he might not have been fit to face Donegal in the clash of the titans.MAYO: David Clarke, Kevin Keane, Ger Cafferkey, Keith Higgins, Lee Keegan, Donal Vaughan, Colm Boyle, Barry Moran, Aidan O’Shea, Kevin McLoughlin, James Doherty, Alan Dillon, Enda Varley, Cillian O’Connor and Michael Conr9y.Meanwhile, its full time in the minor football final with Dublin thumping Meath 0-14 to 1-5, even with a James McEntee consolation goal in added time.      LIVE ALL IRELAND FINAL FROM CROKE PARK: HOW THE TEAMS LINE OUT was last modified: September 23rd, 2012 by cassoscoopShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more