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first_img Published on August 29, 2010 at 12:00 pm The T-shirt displayed six simple words: ‘Driven. Technical. Encouraging. Determined. Intelligent. Aggressive.’ The shirt belonged to a young girl who stood beside Syracuse women’s soccer coach Phil Wheddon throughout most of Syracuse’s home opener against Colgate on Sunday. After a second half comeback that included two goals from sophomore Brielle Heitman and strong play from several defenders, the Orange proved early on that it could be all of those things in search of another successful season, prevailing 2-1 over the Raiders. In his team’s first victory of the season, Wheddon was especially pleased to see different players getting involved around the ball in the second half. ‘We have a lot of dangerous players, and we certainly have some physical presence in the air,’ Wheddon said. ‘One thing we’ve been trying to do is use the strengths the team has.’ Sunday’s win closed out the first homestand of the year, completing an unbeaten weekend against Colgate and Lehigh. Though it was expected for the team to sweep the weekend set — instead of a 1-1 tie against Lehigh on Friday — SU got a good look at what will be in store for the rest of the year.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Against the Raiders Sunday, SU was able to get back into the game against a team they had beaten 11 times in the past and lost to just twice. ‘We knew we were better than the other team,’ sophomore midfielder Jasmine Watkins said. ‘Our coach told us we were and we knew we were. It was confidence. We knew we couldn’t walk away with a loss or a tie. There were just no excuses.’ Raising personal expectations while maintaining composure will be key for the Orange to build off of Sunday’s impressive victory in front of the home crowd. Last season, SU didn’t play any home games through the first month of the season. This year, the Orange has four, and several players are happy to see a more balanced schedule. Junior defender Casey Ramirez viewed the weekend as a confidence booster heading into more difficult play outside of Syracuse. Still, she knows you can’t beat playing at home. ‘Playing at home, you obviously have a lot more fans and you’re more comfortable here,’ Ramirez said. ‘You’re not doing the traveling, which is tiring, and you don’t have people yelling at you from the stands. It’s a lot more comforting having your family and schoolmates supporting you. So, hopefully on the road we’ll also be successful.’ Next weekend, SU will visit Washington and Portland for its first and only west coast trip of the year. Portland is No. 5 in the country and will likely be SU’s toughest non-conference test this season. Home cooking aside, Wheddon understands how his team is going to have to mentally prepare for the road. And as SU embarks on the 2010 season, and its road trip next week, those six simple words on the back of the young girl’s T-shirt are the ones they’ll look to keep in mind. ‘Going into next week, it’s going to be a real challenge,’ Wheddon said. ‘We play two teams that are very good traditionally and ranked in the Top 25 (sic). For us to be an elite team, which is our goal, we have to play these teams and see how we stack up.’ zoirvin@syr.edu Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img