FH : Freshmen midfielders Page, Hussey earn ample playing time for Orange

first_imgWhen Jordan Page arrived at Syracuse this fall, she quickly learned not to let others push her around. In earning an opportunity to start at midfield as only a freshman, Page has picked up some other important lessons about playing at the collegiate level right away.‘To not stand back and to be aggressive and not let someone push you around,’ Page said. ‘Be strong on the ball and to just have confidence when you play and to know that you’re going to do what you need to do.’Fellow freshman midfielder Stephanie Hussey feels the same way. She said playing for SU has taught her to remain humble regardless of status or year on the team.Both Page and Hussey have applied the lessons they’ve learned early this season on the field. The two United States U-19 team members have already made key contributions in their young Syracuse (9-2, 3-0 Big East) careers. Despite being freshmen, they have each played in at least 10 of SU’s 11 games this season. Page reached a new height by scoring her first career goal in a win over Rutgers on Sept. 16, and Hussey has notched one assist so far.Playing time at Syracuse is not purely hierarchical. Senior Martina Loncarica, who started every game as a freshman in 2008, said if SU’s freshmen work hard, they can earn spots in the starting lineup.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘We have a certain fitness standard, and everyone needs that standard so everyone is capable enough of playing good hockey, so they can earn their starting positions,’ Loncarica said.Page has already earned a role as a consistent starter for the Orange. But rather than getting caught up in her individual accomplishment, Page is keeping her focus on the team.Each player has her own role, whether it is in a starting position or off the bench, Page said. And each player must be ready to contribute when her number is called during a game for the team to achieve its ultimate goal of winning.Even when Page and Hussey were high school seniors still searching for the right school for them, they were impressed by the strong team chemistry at Syracuse.‘The fact that the girls have been so helpful and everything actually makes the transition 10 times smoother,’ Hussey said.Hussey said she instantly felt comfortable upon her arrival. She didn’t feel like a recruit, she felt like she was part of the team.Page’s reasons for choosing SU were similarly based on the strong team dynamic. She was also excited by the community’s strong support of the athletic programs.The support system provided by Page’s veteran teammates has eased the transition, she said.Loncarica is one of those veterans. And it was even harder for her to adapt her freshman year because, unlike Page and Hussey, Loncarica isn’t from the United States. An added obstacle was her transition from life and field hockey in Argentina to life and field hockey in Syracuse.Loncarica had to adapt to both a new culture and a new level of competition as well.‘Biggest challenge, just everything,’ Loncarica said. ‘Getting adapted to a new culture and getting to play in a different environment.’Loncarica had to adapt to the faster pace of the college game coming from a high school level in her home country that was not very competitive.Page has had those same difficulties in her time with SU. She said her experience on the national team has helped her cope with the change in the speed of the game, but she is still adjusting to other challenges that come with playing in college.‘My other experiences have really helped me with the pace of the game, but the physicalness is always a new thing coming from high school,’ Page said.For Syracuse to progress as far as it wants to in the Big East and NCAA tournaments, contributions from freshmen such as Page and Hussey are essential. The Orange’s 9-2 start to this season is partially a credit to the early contributions from the freshman class.But there are still challenges ahead for the freshmen to be ready for the bigger games later this season.‘I think the biggest challenge is just trying to find where I fit,’ Page said, ‘and I think just having confidence and playing to my ability. But I have been doing pretty well, and I have really enjoyed playing.’eadreeso@syr.edu Facebook Twitter Google+ Commentscenter_img Published on October 3, 2011 at 12:00 pmlast_img read more