Starting center’s status uncertain due to hand injury suffered against New Hampshire

first_img Published on October 10, 2012 at 12:23 am Contact Jacob: [email protected] | @Jacob_Klinger_ Facebook Twitter Google+ Shiann Darkangelo is trying to play through a hand injury, but Syracuse is preparing for the potential of life without its starting center.“We’ll see what she can do,” SU head coach Paul Flanagan said. “She probably won’t be able to shoot like she’s been able to shoot, but maybe she can help in other ways, so we’ll see what happens and kind of go from there.”A slash on her hand and a collision in SU’s 4-3 loss to New Hampshire on Friday kept Darkangelo out of Saturday’s 5-2 loss against then-No. 10 Northeastern. Darkangelo received a cast for the lower part of her left arm and hand before practicing with it on Tuesday. Darkangelo was not made available for comment by SU Athletics. Her status remains uncertain for this weekend’s two-game set against Penn State in State College,Pa.The sophomore was last season’s third-leading scorer with 18 points, scoring seven goals and 11 assists. Darkangelo’s hard shot, crease presence and movement would be missed if she cannot play. Yet Flanagan and his players are confident others can pick up the slack.“She’s definitely one of our key players and creates a lot of offense for us, so, I mean, going into last game we knew we were taking a hit in the offensive end,” captain Holly Carrie-Mattimoe said. “So I guess a lot of us have to step up and kind of fill that role that we’re missing.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWithout Darkangelo on Saturday, the Orange struggled to link its attack through the neutral zone and into its attacking sets. Sophomore center Allie LaCombe said Darkangelo’s passing ability makes it easy for her teammates.When Darkangelo was a senior in high school, freshman defender Nicole Renault played with her for Little Caesars Under-19s. Renault is one of SU’s more composed passers, and she has an extra appreciation for Darkangelo’s positional sense.“She sticks, she’s always getting open for the pass, she’s always talking, being a good teammate,” Renault said. “If you make a good pass she’ll make sure to let you know.”Darkangelo also carries her weight on defense, back-checking on opposing defenders sneaking into the zone.LaCombe struggles skating back and keeping track of opponents on defense. But Darkangelo teaches her something new on defense every day in practice.“If I watch her then I know what to do because she’s very smart,” LaCombe said.Renault said her teammate refuses to leave her defenders out to dry. Yet Darkangelo’s hard shot may be her greatest asset to the team.More than 80 percent of goals are scored on rebounds, Flanagan said. The speed of Darkangelo’s shot produces opportunities for teammates closer to goal, an area of weakness the Orange is looking to improve before taking on a PSU team that employs a conservative defense.“When teams pack it in in front you try to get somebody off to the side and you know just getting somebody back door, that kind of thing,” Flanagan said. “So we could use her size in front of the net and down low and just getting rebounds.”At 5 feet 9 inches tall, Darkangelo is the team’s second-tallest player, and while the team could miss her physical presence around the crease, others are expected to fill the void.Renault pointed to 5-foot-2-inch forward Melissa Piacentini, who was SU’s top performer in the beginning of Saturday’s game before recording her first career assist on fellow freshman Laurie Kingsbury’s third-period goal.Flanagan said Darkangelo is trying to play, but regardless of her status for Saturday, the entire offense is expected to step up.Said Flanagan: “Whether it’s (Darkangelo) or Emily or anybody, we got to start getting some production. But I feel good about this group.” Commentslast_img read more