Syracuse women’s soccer’s Jessica Vigna transitions to center back and anchors back line

first_img Published on October 5, 2016 at 11:18 pm Contact Matt: mdliberm@syr.edu Practice ended, and the women’s soccer team rushed to grab their bags and water bottles. The players tossed their heart monitors in the storage house, and loaded their belongings into their cars to get ready for class.Jessica Vigna remained on the field, taking headers and practicing her clearance.“She hates taking headers,” head coach Phil Wheddon said. “Absolutely hates them.”Standing in front of the box, Vigna received toss after toss from assistant coach Kelly Lawrence, who kept feeding her headers. She would head them to the outside of the pitch and then clear the ball with her left foot. She doesn’t like it, but it’s necessary for her transition.The junior center back has been the veteran of Syracuse’s defense and has helped lead the Orange (7-4-2, 0-3-1) to its best start since 2003. Vigna has started all 13 games for Syracuse and has yet to come off the field during a game.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFor most of her high school career, Vigna played in the midfield. In her transition to the collegiate game, Vigna still has not solidified herself in one position. Syracuse has allowed 10 goals in its last three games, all losses, and will need Vigna to help stop the Orange’s slide during its matchup with Virginia Tech at 7 p.m. Thursday at SU Soccer Stadium.“She’s been that rock in the back for us,” goalie Courtney Brosnan said.The Orange recruited Vigna to play in the midfield, but Wheddon moved her to center back when she was a freshman. The following year she moved back to the midfield she said before being shifted to the defense again this year.Vigna said being a defender has restricted her freedom while midfielders can take more touches in more space. Starting alongside freshman center back Taylor Bennett, Vigna has helped to produce six clean sheets in the 4-1-4-1 setup for the Orange.Wheddon recognized that Vigna is a midfielder and would prefer to play more on the attacking side of the ball, but in certain circumstances she has gotten her chance.Syracuse and Rhode Island headed into the 89th minute tied at 0-0. With three seconds left before the final minute, a foul on Rhode Island led to a Syracuse penalty kick. Vigna marched up the line and blasted a shot past the outstretched arms of the Rhode Island goalkeeper for the game winner.Daily Orange File PhotoGrowing up in the midfield and playing midfield her sophomore season, Vigna had to adjust her play style and work on different parts of her technical game to make sure the transition is smooth.From the center back position there is not as much running as there is from the midfield, but there is more sprinting.“I think I’ve gotten a lot quicker,” Vigna said. “Rather than coasting around before a sprint as a center-mid, playing center back is much more stop-and-sprint.”She conceded though that her fitness has dropped playing as a back. Wheddon added that Vigna needed to improve on balls in the air and on her timing of the tackles when she made the switch.Wheddon and Vigna both stressed the importance of heading for defenders, and that the timing has to be perfect in order to get proper clearance.“We did a lot of individual workouts,” Wheddon said. “Working on headers off corners and long clearances so that she would work on timing where she caught the ball in the air so that it wouldn’t go straight up.”She hated headers because she did not think that she was good enough at them for what she and the team needed. Her timing used to be off, she said, and she couldn’t clear the ball the way she wanted to.But this year, her timing seems to be right. Wheddon explained that in most situations when Syracuse has conceded goals, it has not been the fault of the defense.“They’re sticking to their marks,” Wheddon said. “They’re doing what they’re supposed to do.”Most days, after practice now, the team scrambles away, loading into their cars and getting ready for class, but Vigna remains on the field taking headers and practicing her clearance. She is still adjusting to center back, but has remained the top option for the Orange and has anchored its defense. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Black Stars defender Sumaila donates to Colts clubs in the Central Region.

first_imgGhana Defender Rashid Sumaila has donated undisclosed sums of money to all colt clubs in the Central Region to show appreciation for developing him as a young talent.The 21-year-old is arguably one of Ghana’s best defender at the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Brazil despite not getting the opportunity to feature for the Black StarsSumaila paired excellently with Jerry Akaminko in a pre tournament friendly against the Netherlands which the Black Stars lost by 0-1.The former Dwarfs \Kotoko defender and now plies his trade for PSL side Mamelodi Sundowns is now the toast of scouts at the World Cup and it is believed he will join the European train soon.  The humble defender interacted with some players and officials of the youth sides after which he made the donation.“This is where it all started for me and it was important to come back and say thank you to everyone here and also help in my small way to ensure more talents are produced from the region,” he said during the presentation. The regional executives and coaches thanked their former player for his magnanimity and prayed his star keeps shining as he is likely to begin his adventure in Europe.last_img read more

Mbeki receives Athens honour

first_img1 March 2005President Thabo Mbeki has received Athens’ highest honour for his contribution to the struggle against apartheid.Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis presented Mbeki with the City of Athens Medal of Honour on Friday, saying that Greece and South Africa shared a brotherhood in cause of freedom.President Mbeki was in Greece for a three-day state visit to the Hellenic Republic.“There is a second reason this ceremony takes on for us an importance deeper than usual”, said Bakoyannis. “It concerns the strong symbolism embodied in your own person. You symbolise, Mr President, the long and tortuous struggle against apartheid.”The mayor said she hoped the strong ties between the two countries, forged in times of misfortune, war and inequality, “culminate this century in the final success of the process of peace, fraternity and prosperity”.Mbeki said the honour bestowed upon him posed a challenge, as he now had to live up to that honour.“The things that you said constitute somewhat of challenge because this means we then have to make sure that in future we do not dishonour this medal of merit”, Mbeki said.He committed to do “everything I can to make sure that this vision you projected of a world of peace, of fraternity, of prosperity” became a reality.Mbeki invited Mayor Bakoyannis to assist in building a new South Africa, as the country responded to the challenge of fast-growing and expanding towns and cities.He also congratulated the Mayor on a “great achievement” for being the first woman mayor of Athens.He added that South Africa had much to learn from Greece’s successful hosting of the Olympic Games last year.“[W]e should draw on that experience … particularly in the context of what we shall have to do in a few years’ time to host the 2010 Soccer World Cup”, Mbeki said.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more