Syracuse sets out to leave definitive mark on Big East in final year

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Syracuse head coach Phil Wheddon had a message for his team heading into conference play.He told the team that it was like starting a new season, giving the Orange an opportunity to shake off its early season struggles and finish strong.SU (3-3-1) kicks off Big East play this week against Connecticut (4-2-1), the last season for the Orange in the conference. SU went 6-5 last year in conference games and wants to make one final statement before heading to the Atlantic Coast Conference.“It’s been a long time since this program’s done well in the Big East, so we’ve got to make sure that’s not a fluke,” Wheddon said.Wheddon also wants to make sure Syracuse’s final years in the Big East are seen as a launching pad for future success.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We want to make sure we sort of leave a little bit of an imprint as a team that was a developing program, and one that is going in the right direction,” he said.For that to happen, SU will have to correct the mistakes that have plagued its first seven games, namely set pieces and finishing.“We’re not scoring goals,” Wheddon said. “There’s been some good goalkeeping but you know we’ve got to make our chances count. We’ll probably get fewer chances in these games, so every chance we get is a valuable one. ”For the players, this last year in the Big East means a final chance for SU to make its mark on the conference.“I think everyone’s trying to make it a really good one, make it really special,” junior goalkeeper Brittany Anghel said.Rachel Blum, a junior midfielder, believes a successful final year in the Big East will lead to a solid season next year in the ACC.Competition will only get tougher in 2013 when SU makes the jump to a league that’s home to national powerhouse North Carolina, among others.“I’m excited,” said Blum. “The team and the school is going into a new conference, and we can only go up from here.”But for Skylar Sabbag, a senior defender, switching conferences is nothing new.Sabbag played for Central Michigan in the Mid-American Conference in 2009, where she played in 14 games off the bench. She played in 15 games and started nine for the Orange one year later.“We definitely want to leave a stamp on the Big East,” Sabbag said. “We want to say Syracuse was a force to reckon with in the Big East.”While the opponents may be different in another conference, the mindset doesn’t change.Said Sabbag: “You’ve got to win — whatever it takes.” Comments Published on September 12, 2012 at 1:15 am Contact Jack: [email protected]last_img

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