Much of the afternoon belonged to the stellar play of junior right fielder Shirley Daniels but reminders that it was Senior Day at Syracuse University softball field abounded.Orange and blue streamers were wound around the bleacher railings, as color-coordinated balloons whipped in the wind. A white banner carrying the image of a softball diamond and the jersey numbers — 33, 7, 21, 16, 5 and 4 — of each graduating player superimposed onto their corresponding positions on the field, was draped along the left field fence.Sunday’s 9-4 win against Providence was captain Morgan Nandin’s last-ever game at Syracuse Softball Stadium. The win inched Syracuse into the Big East tournament and gave Syracuse the win it needed to claim the three-game weekend series against Providence.It was a bittersweet adieu for a player who has become a defensive stalwart and fixture of consistency at shortstop over four seasons.“I wish there was like eight years of eligibility,” Nandin said after the game. “I want to keep playing but we ended on a great note.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I’m really happy with the way I’m playing and it took like four years for me, mentally, to figure out this game. I’ve only figured out 20 percent of it but there’s no way you can figure out this whole game, Nandin said. “It’s tough that it’s coming to an end.”A pre-game ceremony honored each of the graduating players — Emily Thompson, Gabby Torzili, Stacy Kuwik, Ashley Dimon, Ronnie Grant and Nandin, who generated one of the crowd’s loudest responses. Over the press-box intercom, an announcer blared the impressive line of records Nandin accumulated during her time donning a Syracuse jersey — first all-time in games started, second all-time in double plays turned, among them.At the top of the third inning with one out, Nandin provided the home crowd one parting glimpse of the stealth acrobatics that’s become routine over the years. A Providence batter hit the ball between third baseman Corinne Ozanne and Nandin. Nandin dove to the left, ending up on her stomach and containing the ball from traveling any further. Nandin caught a glimpse of the batter, who was half-way to first and made a spot-on throw to first baseman Jasmine Watson for the out.Nandin picked herself up and dusted her dirt-covered knees, remaining straight faced as she resumed her post between second and third. In the rafters, the awestruck crowd wavered between silence and hushed murmurs, unsure of how to respond to the unlikely play.On the field, Nandin didn’t crack a smile — like all the times that came before it, she didn’t let on.“I try and pretend I do those plays all the time. On the inside, I’m like jumping up and down,” she said.Syracuse closed out Senior Day and the season on a high-note but the team knows there’s still work left unfinished. In a season that’s marked by growing pains and adjusting to the departure of key players from last season’s team, Syracuse looks to use the momentum they’ve generated in the last stretch of the season in post-season play.Center fielder Grant said, compared to the start of the regular season, the team’s managed to come together. Grant closed out the game by sliding to snag a fly ball for the Providence’s final seventh inning out — a fitting end for her final game at Syracuse’s softball stadium.“I wanted it … I knew that was a big hitter. I really wanted the ball,” she said, as a smile broke across her face. Comments Published on May 5, 2013 at 6:35 pm Contact Debbie: email@example.com | @debbietruong Facebook Twitter Google+ Related Stories Daniels carries Syracuse into Big East tournament with standout Senior Day performance
Published on January 12, 2019 at 10:40 pm Contact Charlie: firstname.lastname@example.org | @charliedisturco Curtis Haywood II’s hand rose in the air with Frank Howard a couple feet in front of him. A quick pass to Jose Alvarado, alone in the corner, ended in a 3 and prompted Syracuse to call a timeout.Right before half court, SU head coach Jim Boeheim walked over to Howard. The two talked about what had happened: Howard dashed to Haywood II and left Alvarado open. Georgia Tech took a six-point lead and the Orange never recovered.Syracuse looked much more polished after opening conference play with two straight wins. The defense that shut down Clemson was confronted with a weak offense in Georgia Tech that “survives” on its defense, GT head coach Josh Pastner said. But while Georgia Tech’s defense stifled the Orange, the Yellow Jackets’ (10-6, 2-1 Atlantic Coast) offense erupted and shot 59.5 percent from the field. Much of that success came from Georgia Tech’s game plan of feeding its bigs in the middle of the paint, leading it to a 73-59 win over Syracuse (11-5, 2-1) on Saturday night inside the Carrier Dome.Georgia Tech’s big men instantly made an impact. Abdoulaye Gueye was often guarded by Marek Dolezaj. He quickly took advantage of his strength advantage over the SU center. Gueye used a mixture of post moves to create separation on Dolezaj. He often backed the Slovakian native down before using a hook shot or layup off the glass.“(Dolezaj’s) a good player,” Boeheim said, “but he has trouble when he goes 1-on-1 with those guys.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAlvarado said the team knew to feed the big men because Syracuse’s defense likes to play “high.” That led to 1-on-1 opportunities with Dolezaj, Bourama Sidibe or Paschal Chukwu down low. When SU doubled the post, a GT big man kicked the ball back out for an open opportunity.For the first time all season, Pastner started Gueye along with James Banks III, another big that dominated Syracuse’s interior defense. Together, the duo combined for 20 of Georgia Tech’s 27 first-half points and rarely missed.“It was part of our equation,” Pastner said. “Thinking about (Dolezaj on defense).”While Dolezaj was able to accumulate five steals, very rarely did the rest of the SU defense collapse on Gueye and Banks III, triggering 1-on-1 opportunities with players that are 37 pounds and 63 pounds heavier than Dolezaj, respectively.It is no secret Dolezaj struggles with bigger and stronger athletes, especially in the post. But against Notre Dame and Clemson, the big men were kept in check. He was able to get around players and poke the ball loose, rather than having to try and stop them in the low post.Notre Dame had just 14 points in the paint, while Clemson put up 22 against Syracuse. Georgia Tech, meanwhile, matched with 36, even with Gueye suffering a cramp with 15:43 left in the second half, forcing him to miss the rest of the game. The damage had been done, though.When Boeheim opted to combat Banks III and Gueye’s interior presence with a bigger player in Sidibe, the duo still found a way to score. One play, Alvarado saw Banks III slip by Sidibe for a wide-open alley-oop. Banks III added 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting.“(Gueye and Banks III) did a really nice job of being patient and poised,” Pastner said, “when they caught the ball. They didn’t panic.”Oshae Brissett called it “defensive lapses,” as a team. Frank Howard said, “we weren’t engaged.”SU’s defensive failures didn’t just happen inside the paint with Gueye and Banks III. Alvarado and Haywood II often found themselves open in the corner or at the top of the key, pulling the trigger from 3. The duo made 6-of-9 from beyond the arc.Whenever it seemed like Syracuse was mustering up a run to cut the deficit to single digits, Georgia Tech would nail a deep ball, or get an offensive rebound and second-chance opportunity.Syracuse resorted to a full-court press for most of the game’s final 10 minutes, trying to force the Georgia Tech guards into making mistakes. Instead, the offense was able to often find a cutter down the wing who would either score with ease or draw a foul.Anything Syracuse threw at Georgia Tech defensively, it seemed like the Yellow Jackets were already a step ahead. Turnovers resulted in transition buckets. GT outscored SU in the paint by 20 and shot well, both 59.5 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3.With six minutes left, an inbound pass from Brissett was picked off by Michael Devoe. Tyus Battle slid over to help Buddy Boeheim with a half-court trap. But he drove in the paint and kicked it out to Evan Cole who quickly passed it to Haywood II.Wide open, at the top of the key, Haywood II released the shot. He stood there, watching, hand up in the air once again. He didn’t move until the ball swished through the net and made contact with the ground. Another Syracuse error that resulted in a wide open 3.“We made too many mistakes in the second half,” Boeheim said. “That put us in a hole we couldn’t recover from.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+
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