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Pongetti adjusts to Syracuse’s style of play, midfield

first_img Published on September 16, 2014 at 12:03 am Contact Chris: cjlibona@syr.edu | @ChrisLibonati Another year, another campus, another team.Last year, Rebecca Pongetti started her freshman year of college at Louisiana State, starting 11 and playing in 18 of the Tigers’ 20 games. But just a few months before this season began, she transferred to Syracuse, preferring the Orange’s quicker, possession-based style of play.“I got the opportunity with Syracuse and I took it and I didn’t look back,” she said.Pongetti described her start at Syracuse as “frantic.” LSU was something she had planned in advance when she committed in 10th grade. But SU was a little more unexpected.As she switches from what she called LSU’s “kick-and-run” style to the Orange’s more patient, purposeful passing, she’s rotating into more playing time and a new position because of Hanna Strong’s indefinite suspension from the team.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“The speed of play in the (Atlantic Coast Conference) is a little quicker than it is in the (Southeastern Conference),” head coach Phil Wheddon said. “The SEC is a big, physical game and the ACC is a quicker game.”Pongetti has settled in, but the transition is ongoing. After starting the first three games of the season, Pongetti did not play against Connecticut on Sept. 1 as Wheddon said Strong was better suited for the matchup.But the team will be without Strong indefinitely. She was suspended Sept. 6 after she was recorded using racist and homophobic language. Strong plays holding midfielder, the same position as Pongetti.Strong’s suspension may help Pongetti get more time on the field. Her absence opens a rotational gap at the holding midfielder position in Syracuse’s 3-5-2 formation. Strong played more than 30 minutes in four of Syracuse’s first five games. Now, the Orange will have to find someone else to play those minutes.“(Pongetti) still working on her speed of play, taking a quicker first touch so she can play more quickly,” Wheddon said.She’s also working out of a new position. Pongetti’s played center back since she started playing with the Canadian Youth National Team in her mid-early teens years, but when she arrived at Syracuse, she was shifted to midfield.Switching from center back to the midfield made it clear to Pongetti that her work was cut out for her. She had to build her stamina to physically prepare herself for playing in the midfield and adjusting to the new playing style that came with transfer.“This summer I worked every single day.” Pongetti said. “I ran, I lifted — I did everything I could to be possibly fit for the midfield.”As a freshman at LSU, Pongetti had to prove herself. This year is no different.Maddie Iozzi, a sophomore defender, said that Pongetti has continued to improve since she arrived. Iozzi could see it better than most — the two played together on the Canadian Youth National Team.Said Iozzi: “She was a bit timid at first, but now she’s zipping (passes) in there and she’s gotten a lot better from when she first came.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more