Published on April 11, 2013 at 12:44 am Contact Danny: [email protected] While Syracuse has dominated its final run in the Big East, games against out-of-conference opponents have been a struggle for the Orange.SU (11-7, 7-1 Big East) will face Temple on Saturday in the regular-season finale for the Orange. Before heading off to the Big East tournament, the Orange must face one final nonconference foe. The Orange has struggled in out-of-conference play this season, going 4-6.“I definitely expect the team to come out really strong and really determined just because it’s our last season match,” Amanda Rodgers said.While the Orange has surged as of late, winning six of its last seven matches, it wasn’t always this way. The Orange began the season 0-5, losing four of its first five matches against nonconference opponents.Rodgers alluded to a lack of intensity as the possible reason for the slow start. The “Orange energy” that has become a staple of the Drumlins Tennis Center during the season was not with the team on the road.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“As a team, we all struggled with (that) at the beginning,” Rodgers said. “We had a two-week break in the middle of the season, and we all kind of came together and realized we need to be more intense on the court.”The Orange lost its first five matches of the season, four to nonconference foes — Southern California, Georgia Tech, Georgia State and Boston College all defeated the Orange. The schedule was a test against national powers. USC is currently ranked No. 5 in the country, with Georgia Tech slotted at No. 19.“We started the season 0-5. That was a really tough thing for this team,” Komal Safdar said, “it’s not easy to lose that much.”But the higher level of competition so early in the season was a test for Syracuse, and Safdar said she believes the team is on the verge of contending with some of the top powers it faced early in the season.“I mean, there’s no doubt that those teams are ranked a lot higher, and we have come really close, it’s just we haven’t been able to put it together as a team,” Safdar said. “It’s like were tapping on the door, we’ve pushed it open a little bit against some teams, but we are ready to barge through now.”Temple stands as the final test for an Orange team that will no longer have the comfort of the Big East. Syracuse moves to the Atlantic Coast Conference next season, and this schedule is a reflection of the steps Syracuse is taking to move on.“We’re getting ready to go into the ACC, and those are the people that we are going to face a lot more,” Brittany Lashway said. “I think we haven’t had the chance to do that and this is really the first season that, as a team, we have.”But Temple is far from the elite level of competition the Orange faced in the beginning. In fact, Syracuse has dominated the Owls in the past, winning in each of the past three seasons against Temple. Each match has ended either 6-1 or 7-0.The Orange hopes the high play that showed in the Big East schedule carries over to Temple and beyond.“I think that, as a team, we’ve had some ups and downs, but I really think we’ve been going on an upstream right now,” Kobelt said, “so that’s good momentum to bring into the tournament.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+
Photo © Pixabay Keys recorded a straight sets win over CoCo Vandeweghe. The 7 time Grand Slam winner lost her semi final to the unseeded Sloane Stephens in New York last night.The 24 year old won 10 of the last 11 points to claim victory in the deciding set.She will now face Madison Keys in her first Grand Slam Final.