SYRACUSE — Syracuse had all the momentum, but its high-powered scoring machine was broken in the first half Thursday.
Junior forward Ashlyn Hall stepped up and finally fixed it in the final 40 minutes.
Hall’s goal midway through the second half was all the Titans needed to slip past Pleasant Grove, 1-0, and advance to the semifinals of the 6A state girls soccer tournament.
“We were just taking a lot of shots and we had gained confidence and we knew we could do it,” Hall said. “At halftime we talked about playing our game and relaxing.
“There was a lot of momentum going forward. Sarah (Wynn) got on the outside — she made a great run and crossed it in and I had to finish — so it was a team effort,” Hall said. “I always try to aim for the corners, because that’s the hardest place to stop it.”
Wynn, who took possession down the right sideline, had the game-winning assist.
“I saw an open gap, then beat the center defender and saw Ashlyn open in the middle, so I minused the ball to her and she had an amazing finish,” Wynn said.
The Titans controlled the first 20 minutes of the game, then fell back on their heels heading into halftime.
“Soccer is a game of momentum and you can’t control 40 minutes, so when you let a team take over, it has to be three to five minutes, not 20 like it was today,” Syracuse coach Taylor Allen said. “In the second half we just dominated them and that’s what we wanted. They didn’t get a shot (on goal) until about seven minutes left in the half and we had about 10.”
Senior Brooklyn Stringfellow earned the clean sheet in goal for the Titans.
“I felt like I didn’t have to do as much as I thought I would,” Stringfellow said. “Our defense did a really good job holding; not giving them too many shots on goal.
“At halftime our coach gave us a good pep talk and told us what we needed to fix. In the second half we fixed everything and had so much momentum because we really wanted this and it got us the win,” Stringfellow said.
Syracuse (17-1) has stubbed its toe only once, against Davis, who also advanced in the playoffs with a win Thursday.
“We just take it one game at a time; the next one is the semifinals,” Hall said.