Nicole Levy battling rib injury ahead of Syracuse’s NCAA semifinal
Hannah Wagner | Staff Photographer
Syracuse’s Nicole Levy caught a pass 12 meters out. The Southern California defense had collapsed behind the goal and the ball found it’s way out to the freshman attack. She wound up to take her trademark sidearm sling shot, but pulled back slowly and instead passed the ball away.
Levy has racked up 44 goals and 20 assists this season, but her play has stalled in the NCAA tournament. In the past two games she’s only scored one goal — in the first half against Stony Brook — and dished out one assist. She’s also taken just five shots in the two games. Before the tournament, she was averaging almost four shots per game.
What could be slowing Levy down is an injury she suffered in the second half of the Stony Brook game, after SU had taken the lead and was trying to hold the ball and keep it away from the Seawolves.
“I got X-rays for a broken rib and then they came up clean. So it’s either contused but honestly, I think it’s still broken,” Levy said. “Because after the last game the doctor came in and the trainers, they did one of the tests with that metal tool that they bang and it vibrates and the pain just shot right through my ribs.”
No. 4 seed Syracuse (19-5, 5-2 Atlantic Coast) plays No. 1 seed Maryland (21-0, 5-0 Big Ten) in the NCAA semifinals on Friday at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pennsylvania. Against Maryland’s third-ranked defense, the Syracuse offense, which averages 12.7 goals per game, good for 13th in the country, likely needs its best game of the year to win. And Levy, injured or not, will be a big part of whether that happens.
Syracuse has always had a strong offense punctuated by at an attack that features three goal scorers. But this year, Syracuse has four attacks who’ve scored at least 40 goals, including Levy, Riley Donahue, Halle Majorana and Kayla Treanor. That group, combined with a scoring-oriented midfield, has given the Orange a dynamic offense.
“(Levy’s) a great player, great work ethic, she’s always shooting on her own and she’s really passionate about the game,” Majorana said. “That’s great to see in a freshman and she’s certainly not playing like a freshman right now so it’s great.”
But Levy now has to contend with her new left rib injury. In high school she played field hockey with a fractured pinky finger, but said that wasn’t too bad. She said that she definitely feels pain after the game but that adrenaline takes over during games and it’s not “too, too bad.”
She noted that the injury has limited her a bit, though. She distinctly remembers not going for a groundball in the USC game because she was afraid of getting hip-checked and taking contact. She said that she feels more pain when she’s trying to pass the ball than when she shoots.
Despite the discomfort, Levy said she had no thoughts of sitting out the USC game and will suit up for the game against the Terrapins. Syracuse’s offense has been so dynamic because of its of options, and it’ll need Levy to make sure it plays up to its ability against Maryland.
“I’ve been resting, icing, doing whatever I can to be ready for this weekend, and I think I will,” Levy said. “I really do.”
Published on May 25, 2016 at 4:42 pm