SYRACUSE — For all the success Syracuse’s soccer team has had over the past several seasons, confidence would not be something one would think to factor into the equation at the start of this year.
But between new players, a difficult schedule and dealing with the pandemic, the Titans struggled to get well when the season got underway.
“I think we lacked a little bit of confidence. We’re starting to get that back and now we’re just kicking butt,” senior Sarah Wynn said.
Syracuse wrapped up the first half of the Region 1 schedule in style, knocking down a Fremont team still trying to find its identity, by a 7-2 score Thursday.
The Titans (6-4, 4-3 Region 1) have had a Jekyll and Hyde season, taking a pair of games to open the year, losing four straight and now riding a four-game winning streak.
Head coach Taylor Allen said a pre-region schedule of only three games was a factor.
“We lost all three (players) on the back line, so figuring who our back line is and where they fit it, it took us four or five games,” Allen said.
Wynn said the pandemic made preseason “a little bit tricky at first ... “we didn’t want anything to get canceled. We’ll do anything it takes.”
What it took Thursday was a hat trick from Wynn, who scored her three goals in the first 41 minutes, helping the Titans build a 4-0 lead after Lexi Paulsen opened the scoring for the Titans just six minutes in.
Wynn’s second goal was technically the game-winner when she took a pass from Caroline Stringfellow and found the back of the net with 14:57 left in the first half, making it 3-0.
Stringfellow added the fifth goal for the Titans, a noteworthy benchmark as she became the leading scorer in Syracuse history with 83 and entered the top 10 in the state all-time for goals scored. She became the state leader in assists last year.
“She’s a pretty special player. I know she’s been kind of nervous about that for a couple of games, so it’s nice to get it out of the way,” Allen said. “You think about it, it’s pretty cool.”
Fremont (4-5, 2-5) got as close as 4-1 when Payten Ivins scored just 12 seconds after Wynn’s third goal and Grace Kirby countered the Stringfellow shot with a header, but it was still 5-2 for the Titans.
Sophomore Cortney Cobabe then added a pair of goals for Syracuse to close out the scoring.
The Silverwolves had just pushed powerhouse Davis to penalty kicks on Tuesday before losing and seemed to be suffering some aftereffects.
“I think we were still at that big game that went into double overtime. It was such an exciting game,” Fremont head coach Kelly Parke said. “Other than our state championship game a few years back, I think it was the best game I’ve ever been involved in in high school soccer. We just weren’t quite ready today. I did not have them ready.”
Syracuse is now pointing towards its rematch with region-leading Layton next week.
“We got Layton four games in this year and weren’t ready,” Allen said. “We have the girls we need in position now. I think we’ve got it figured out ... we’re happy where we’re at.”