Syracuse sees immediate results of new offseason conditioning program in 2-0 win over Albany

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first_img Related Stories Syracuse 2, Albany 0Syracuse offense clicks in season-opening 2-0 win over Albany Published on August 24, 2012 at 11:09 pm Contact Nick: [email protected] | @nicktoneytweets Tony Asante didn’t have time to catch his breath. Thirty seconds after he raced down the right sideline, he was sprinting downfield again.Louis Clark had poked the ball away from an Albany defender and regained possession just outside the 18-yard box. Instead of rifling a shot from that spot, Clark found Asante, who made a late dash in the box, trapped the ball and scored the team’s second goal.“I think the whole team knows what it means to be in soccer shape,” said Asante about his goal. “We’re in better soccer shape now.”It showed on Friday night at SU Soccer Stadium in the Orange’s 2-0 win over Albany to open up its season. Syracuse played aggressively and blew by Albany defenders, seized open looks and got off clean strikes on goal. The team outshot the Great Danes 22 to seven.Those clean looks were the effects of a revamped conditioning program. Asante said the team rededicated itself to entering this season in top shape, and after an offseason of training, it’ll be a better offensive team in 2012.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThat’ll be key for Syracuse to improve on its win total from a season ago. SU won just three of its 16 games in 2011, and each of its 12 losses was by only one goal.Head coach Ian McIntyre said he thinks the team’s conditioning and its focus on starting the season in game-ready shape will prepare the Orange to win those close contests this time around.“It’s great to see us score these types of goals,” McIntyre said. “Some of our fresh faces from last season have a year under their belts now, and they know what it takes to win when Big East play comes around.”That leadership is key for a team that wants to rebound in 2012. There are five sophomores on SU’s roster, and McIntyre said each one came into this season with a new understanding about conditioning.“We know we had to come back in better shape,” said sophomore defenseman Jordan Murrell. “The offseason conditioning program really helped us out.”SU wasn’t winded on Friday night and it helped. Albany had a distinct size advantage with eight players taller than 6 foot 2, and that made it hard for passes to go over the top.The Orange went around the Great Danes instead of through them. Early in the second period, freshman midfielder Stefanos Stamoulacatos had an effective give-and-go pass after accelerating into open space. And late in the game, sophomore forward Grant Chong darted by defenders to set up another attack.Even with less than three minutes left, Clark followed up Chong’s hustle play with one of his own. The senior forward trapped the ball in front of the SU bench and then cut to the middle of the field. Three Albany players tried to stab the ball away, but Clark kept the ball close as he distanced himself from defenders.He had a wide-open shot but missed wide left. SU didn’t score on every opportunity, but the chances it did have were created by its own speed.McIntyre said SU is in better shape to showcase that speed this season.“You’d like more shots to go in, but you’re encouraged that you’re taking them,” McIntyre said. “I think we’re in better shape to do that.” Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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