SYRACUSE — Ogden players just found themselves chasing shadows.
Every time a Syracuse soccer player picked up the ball, she would pass to a teammate, who would deliver another pass right onto a teammate's foot, and so on.
Through two games of the season's first week, the Titans (2-0) have won both their games by a combined 12-0 after shutting out Ogden 4-0 in their Thursday home opener.
It's the passing that unlocks everything for Syracuse. Ogden's midfield, a talented group led by returning junior Alysia Butters, played Syracuse very well and forced its defense to make several clearances.
They made it hard for the Titans to move the ball around and forced Syracuse to come up with perfectly placed and perfectly timed passes to start an offensive move.
Syracuse did just that: one-touch passes, angled balls, overlap passes, through balls and all of that at a fast pace like the season was at its sunset, not its sunrise.
"Honestly, we have studs at a lot of positions and they play for each other," Syracuse head coach Taylor Allen said. "Our theme last year was 'We not Me,' this year it's 'Best for, not on' — what's the best thing I can do for the team?"
It helps when the attacking midfielder running the show is Caroline Stringfellow, a sophomore who's already committed to BYU and who scored 29 goals with 32 assists last year.
Six minutes in, Ashlyn Hall scored from close range after a couple of Ogden (1-1) clearances found their way to Syracuse's midfield. The Titans had more chances after that as their midfield constantly threaded the passing needle to open up and frustrate the Tigers.
It was Syracuse who started the second half a little annoyed that it didn't convert more chances in the first half.
Ogden keeper Allison Collinwood started the second half by saving a Stringfellow penalty kick and giving the Tigers some momentum to work with, momentum that went right back to the Titans when Stringfellow scored 30 seconds later.
SAVE: Caroline Stringfellow's penalty is stopped by Ogden keeper Allison Collinwood pic.twitter.com/7Wv0VsJTvy— Patrick Carr (@patrickcarr_) August 9, 2018
Sarah Wynn, who nearly scored in the end of the first half, nearly scored again in the 65th minute after another slick passing move put together by Syracuse.
"We know how to play together and talk," Syracuse's Lauren Burnett said. "(The passing) just comes natural, we've all played together quite a bit and we just know where we're going. We're all on the same page, know what we're doing."
Numerous Ogden chances — a free kick by Mackenzie Kalista in between a couple of corner kicks —ended in the hands of goalkeeper Brooklyn Stringfellow (Caroline's sister).
In the 69th minute, Burnett rifled in a goal from the top of the box. Five minutes later, Hall crossed from the left and the ball kicked off bodies on its way into the net for a 4-0 lead.