Published on September 15, 2015 at 9:50 pm Contact Michael: firstname.lastname@example.org After Maya Pitts scored in the 53rd minute Sunday to break a scoreless tie with Colgate, Syracuse goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan raised her right arm. She put up one finger and then pumped her fist as she walked toward her own goal, all while smiling and watching her teammates celebrate on the other end of the field.Before that goal, Syracuse (3-4-1) had played seven consecutive halves of soccer and four overtime periods without scoring. In total this season, the Orange has been shut out in five of eight games, struggling to provide Brosnan with support despite consistently generating scoring chances. SU finally finished two of those chances against Colgate and will look to build off that as it nears Atlantic Coast Conference play.After Syracuse played Cornell to a 0-0 tie Sept. 11, SU head coach Phil Wheddon gathered his team at midfield of SU Soccer Stadium and spoke with them for several minutes. The conversation he had with his players was similar to the ones he had with them after each of its shutout losses.“We’re trying hard to build the team’s confidence,” Wheddon said after the Cornell game. “But it’s difficult when you get repetitive actions. I think that’s the definition of insanity, isn’t it? Doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.”But when Syracuse took the field for warm-ups Sunday, Wheddon could tell that something was different.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“The finishing was fantastic and it translated (to the game), so I’m happy for the players,” he said.It was, at the least, a temporary fix for a problem that has plagued Syracuse throughout the season. Not including its 6-0 win against Massachusetts on Aug. 21, the Orange has averaged 0.57 goals per game despite averaging 14 shots per game in that same span.The latter statistic is an improvement over last season, when SU averaged just over 10 shots per game, and that’s something that has given the team hope.“Even though it’s been very frustrating that we couldn’t finish (opportunities), at least we knew we were creating them,” Brosnan said after the Colgate game. “So it was literally just that one final piece that we had to get together.”Brosnan has seen two shutouts in regulation not result in victories. She’s also third in the ACC with 29 saves, and Wheddon called her the team’s best player after the Cornell game.But Wheddon also said that, in some games, Brosnan hasn’t been “troubled” by opposing attacks. He said that ACC teams will take advantage of more scoring opportunities, which will place more onus on Syracuse’s own attack to score goals.Syracuse’s final tune-up before ACC play comes Thursday night against Drexel. After that, the Orange will hit the road to face Virginia, North Carolina and Virginia Tech — three of the conference’s top four teams in goals scored this season.If SU wants to contend with that group, it’ll need to continue its form from Sunday.“We’ve controlled games. We’ve had opportunities,” midfielder Jackie Firenze after the Cornell game. “We just haven’t put them away … We need to put the ball in the back of the net.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+
Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error WASHINGTON >> The man studied seemingly every one of Michael Jordan’s moves. Kobe Bryant emulated Jordan’s fadeaway jumper. They showed similar on-court mannerisms. They both became obsessed with winning.But Bryant also studied the end of Jordan’s NBA career closely. After averaging 30.1 points per game en route to five NBA MVP awards with the Chicago Bulls, Jordan’s scoring output in his last two seasons with the Washington Wizards dipped in both 2001-02 (22.0 points) and 2002-03 (20 points).Yet, Bryant still admired how Jordan handled his craft even as his skills declined.“He did everything he could to prepare, much the same way he did in Chicago,” Bryant said following the Lakers’ 108-104 win over the Wizards on Wednesday at Verizon Center. “He studied the game and got his body ready to play. Nutrition was a big thing for him. He just did whatever he could to prepare himself. I do the same thing.” Bryant posted a season-high 31 points on 10-of-24 shooting in 36 minutes against the Wizards. But he has averaged 15.8 points, while shooting a career-low 30.1 percent from the field. Jordan represented one of the first people Bryant informed last summer about his plan to retire following the 2015-16 season.“We just talked generally about the game and what it feels like to play the last year,” Bryant said. “But nothing specific.”Moving onLakers guard Jordan Clarkson continues to remain motivated that he was not selected until the 46th pick of last year’s draft. But Clarkson insisted he has no strong feelings against the Wizards for trading his draft rights to the Lakers.And yet … “I still see those guys that got drafted before me,” said Clarkson, who posted 18 points on 6-of-14 shooting. “I’m still trying to prove myself everyday that I’m an NBA player.”Day of mourningSomething bothered Lakers coach Byron Scott far more serious than the Lakers’ struggles or a player’s performance. At least 14 people were killed and 17 others were injured by as many as three shooters on Wednesday at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino.“Anytime you see something this senseless where people just go in and shoot up innocent bystanders, it’s crazy,” Scott said. “It seemed like every day our world is getting crazier for whatever reason. Life is not precious for some people as it is to others.”Bryant also offered his sympathy.“Being in California, we know quite a few people,” Bryant said. “The first thing we did was reach out and make sure everybody was safe and sound. Obviously our thoughts and prayers are out there for all the families.”Riding the pineA day after describing the Lakers as “a circus,” Nick Young sat on the bench of Wednesday’s game against Washington. But Scott said there was “no reason” for the benching beyond wanting to feature Metta World Peace at small forward and Larry Nance Jr. at power forward.