Hannah Van Middelem stars in goalie relief in SU’s 12-11 2OT loss to Princeton

first_imgNEWTON, Mass. — The 12th time Hannah Van Middelem jogged onto the field to defend the Syracuse net this season, there was 9:48 left in the first half of her first NCAA Tournament game and Princeton led the Orange by five goals. It came on a bigger stage than Van Middelem had ever played in, but she came up as big as she had all season.“(I) put Hannah in and said, ‘Go show us what you got,’” SU head coach Gary Gait recalled postgame.What the freshman goalie had was six saves while allowing only five goals, but the fifth was the walk-off winner in double overtime for Princeton (13-5, 6-1 Ivy League) as the Tigers beat the Orange (9-10, 1-6 Atlantic Coast), 12-11, in the first round of the NCAA tournament to end Syracuse’s season. Van Middelem’s six saves were the most she made all season in a game where she saved more than half her chances. Syracuse’s double-overtime appearance could be credited to her dominant netminding in the second half.Syracuse hadn’t won a game it trailed at halftime all season. Down four at the half to the Tigers on Friday, it didn’t look like that trend would change. Van Middelem made one save prior to the half to keep it that close. And then in the second, it seemed Van Middelem wouldn’t let Princeton score.On Princeton’s second possession of the second half, Camille Sullivan easily beat her defender. SU’s defense was undone by a reverse pivot spin from the Princeton senior. But when she shot high, Van Middelem’s stick’s pocket was there to save the shot.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThat was the formula, said Princeton attack Colby Chanenchuk and head coach Chris Sailer. Asa Goldstock had allowed the high goals to go in, and the Tigers didn’t change their method of attack.“I think she went in and we kept shooting the high shots, and she was better at the high shots,” Sailer said. “I think that we didn’t necessarily change up our shooting as much as we could have and I thought she just did a really good job.”Then began the Syracuse comeback. Van Middelem didn’t have much to do as the Orange stormed back from four down to take an 11-10 lead. And then Princeton knotted it up with 6:25 left — a scoreline that would remain the same for more than 13 minutes in part due to Van Middelem.Immediately following the Tigers’ 11th goal, Tess D’Orsi found space in the right slot and decided, for a change, to shoot low. But Van Middelem stuck her left foot out and kept the ball out of her cage. She got help from her left post with about two minutes left in regulation, but was tasked to make one more big play.D’Orsi was awarded a free-position shot about two minutes into the first overtime. She lined up just right of center. Inexplicably, she shot high. Based on what was said postgame, it would have come as no surprise to the Princeton sideline that the high attempt was smothered by Van Middelem.But such is the nature of playing goalie that, in a sudden death overtime setup, there was a chance of Van Middelem’s work being undone. So when Chanenchuk cut down the middle of the offensive zone and Princeton’s Allie Rogers picked her out, Van Middelem had the shot to make what, on a standout day, would have been her best save. But Chanenchuk converted from just outside the crease. Princeton raced to embrace its hero.The future is bright for Van Middelem, Gait said postgame. She was the number one goalie recruit nationally in her freshman class.“She did a great job helping us battle back and getting into that game,” Gait said.But that didn’t change the immediacy of the season’s ending in double overtime.When Van Middelem knew the ball was in the back of her net, all she felt was disappointment, she said. The Syracuse seniors — whose collegiate careers are now over — had been on her mind all game. She saved six shots to try and preserve those careers for one more game. But she couldn’t save the seventh. Comments Published on May 11, 2018 at 8:37 pm Contact Billy: [email protected] | @Wheyen3 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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