Serra Degnan serves as facilitator and defensive stalwart for Syracuse field hockey
Liam Sheehan | Staff Photographer
Serra Degnan received a pass, looked for seams and teammates, weaved around a Louisville defender and passed the ball. As Lies Lagerweij pushed up on offense and trailed, Degnan retreated and settled into defensive mode. She waited for the counter-attack that could easily disrupt SU’s momentum and result in a goal for the then-No.7 Cardinals.
Degnan has been one of No. 4 Syracuse’s (10-1, 3-1 Atlantic Coast) most reliable players down the stretch of the season, acting as both a facilitator and defensive anchor. As Lagerweij and Roos Weers step forward to help SU’s offense, it is Degnan’s job as a midfielder to reposition and not leave any holes open.
Focusing on counter-defense can make or break a team during, as any open holes can be easily taken advantage of. Midfielders must keep an eye on the opposing attack pushing up, making sure they are back on defense to stop any counter-attack.
“We could not do it without (the) midfielders,” Lagerweij said when the defensive backs push up on offense. “If a defender pushes up, a midfielder will drop back. It’s like a see-saw”
Degnan helps SU connect its offense, but she’s forced to be cognizant of interceptions, which can allow opponents to get behind her before she drops back. But, at the same time, she must keep an eye on where the ball and opposing players go. Degnan said she has to be judicious with when she has to run to save her energy.
Jessica Sheldon | Photo Editor
She handles the ball well and shows good judgement but Degnan doesn’t take many shots. She has scored three goals on just five shots this season. Her shot percentage of 60 ranks first on the team, a near 18 percent better than Lagerweij at No. 2.
During the team’s last home game against Louisville, Weers committed a foul that resulted in a penalty corner for the Cardinals. Visibly upset, Weers ran over to the referee and started to discuss the play. Degnan was quickly by her side, helping calm down Weers and leading her away to get ready for a corner the Orange eventually stopped.
Degnan has re-proven herself as the leader on the defending national champions. She wears the captain’s band and is not quiet on the field.
“She’s always been a leader through her work ethic,” head coach Ange Bradley said. “You see the missing tooth (entering the ACC tournament) that happened in training practice that she was diving for a ball to score a goal.”
Since her freshman season, Degnan has started every game. That year, she started in 16 of 20 games. In each game, she’s been active defensively and offensively. Her versatility has been a huge contribution to an Orange team that has lost just two games over the past two years.
“She’s a cog in our engine,” Bradley said. “She’s always been a voice but (now) being able to look after the group, she has a lot of support.”
Published on October 6, 2016 at 12:09 am