Jamie Martin holding down right back position after return from leg injury

first_imgEarly in Syracuse’s game against Princeton on Oct. 1, Ryan McCarthy, the Tigers leading goal scorer, drove toward the SU defense. Defender Jamie Martin stepped up, laid her stick flat across the turf and stripped McCarthy of the ball.Taking the ball away has been Martin’s specialty, and the redshirt sophomore has proven to be a valuable addition to No. 9 Syracuse’s (10-3, 2-3 Atlantic Coast) back line since her return from injury. Martin excels on the defensive end of the field and her emergence has pushed Claire Webb, who played right back in Martin’s absence, forward in SU’s formation.“It’s a lot of timing. Just reading the play,” Martin said, “stepping up and locking on to your player.”Steals are not kept as an official statistic in college field hockey, but Martin dispossesses opponents frequently. She trusts her teammates to back up the play, giving her confidence to step up. More often than not, Martin’s stick locks onto the ball and strips it away from her opponent.In Martin’s first start, against then-No. 24 Rutgers, her defensive prowess was on display. At least four times, Martin foiled a Scarlet Knight run by stripping the ball on an offensive push.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“She’s patient and she reads the pressure that’s being put on the ball in front of her and she likes a fight,” SU head coach Ange Bradley said. “She likes the one-v-one battle and she does really well at that.”Based on spring practices, which often featured Martin at right back, the spot on the backline next to All-Americans Roos Weers and Lies Lagerweij should have been Martin’s to start the season, Bradley said. But before Martin could make a start, a leg injury sidelined her. In practice, Martin planted hard on her left leg, hyperextending it. The eventual diagnosis was a fracture in her femur.Before Martin reclaimed her position, Claire Webb started at right back for SU. Since Martin’s return, Webb has been pushed into a midfield role, filling the hole directly in front of SU’s back line. Bradley referenced Webb playing almost every minute of conference play in the midfield last year. It’s a role that is familiar, albeit one in which Webb is a bit rusty.“I’m just kind of recalling on what I learned last year to try and help shape my role in the midfield,” Webb said. “Working with the coaches, doing video and things like that.”Martin’s recovery and Webb’s subsequent positional shift have given Syracuse a different look defensively. With Webb playing as a back-turned-midfielder and Martin’s ability to lockdown the right side, Syracuse has held some of the ACC’s top teams’ offenses in check.No. 2 Duke scored a season-low one goal against the defensive lineup Syracuse has featured since Martin’s return, as the Orange won, 2-1. The Blue Devils scored on their first shot, just 6:05 into the game, but couldn’t score on their subsequent eight shots.Martin and Webb’s roles will continue to evolve, Bradley said. But for now, Martin has done everything needed at right back.“I’m glad (Martin) stepped up,” Weers said. “She’s doing an awesome job.” Comments Published on October 8, 2017 at 10:29 pm Contact Billy: [email protected] | @Wheyen3 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img